The seasons once again turn back towards autumn. It’s my favorite season. There is a particular quality of light in the air that I am in love with. I wish it could be autumn all the time.
Walking outdoors, the cool wind brushing the leaves across the street. Some place, somewhere preparing for a harsh winter. But in northern California, we only get the leaves turning. No harsh winters like my old home back east.
The leaves outside my apartment have began turning. The vibrant colors of the season finally making their display as the birds of the neighborhood twit in the early afternoon sun.
As a tree begins to turn a different color it is not just beautiful, but indicates a more heightened change. The tree is reclaiming the chlorophyll from its leaves, preparing to hibernate for the winter.
What looks like death to us is actually not death at all. The tree is going to sleep. It’s going to protect its energy until it can rebirth itself in the spring.
For some reason, I’ve always had an interest in death. Perhaps it’s because of my Catholic upbringing, where the only salvation we hoped for was through our death and ascension to heaven if we were good enough.
But the trees have a more poetic rendering on this concept of death. One more akin to Eastern reincarnation.
The trees teach me that to be reborn in the spring, we must reclaim the Life from our leaves and let them fall away. We must bring that energy back within ourselves, travel back to our source. Then, when the spring comes, we will reanimate that energy through our limbs, through our veins, and transform into something totally new.
The leaves, no longer the same ones, are from the same substance. Intimately, we have revived ourselves as something new entirely. To the average walker, the tree is the same as it was last year. But to someone who is interested in seeing something more, the tree is totally new. The only thing left from its previous life is its trunk, firmly rooted in the earth. The scaffolding for the spirit of the tree to do its magic.
Maybe, somehow, we are similar to the tree. As above, so below. As the tree falls into its place for the long winter, so will I. Retreat to a different place. A different world. Bring my energy within myself, so that come spring, I can reanimate my limbs. A fresh new thing.
Maybe, that is the way it is for us too. Much like the tree.