We’re now into the third week of September and because of our warm weather, the trees are just beginning to empower their leaves to turn colors and fly away into the next journey of their lives. Today, as I walked along a trail beside a tree lined creek, I noticed a few yellow leaves in the midst of a sea of the green. Eventually, I found two leaves on the ground that were early sojourners sporting yellow color. I picked them up carefully, put them in my pocket and they’re now on my desk keeping me company.
Why is it said that we ‘must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn’? What meaning and purpose would this bring to us if we took it seriously and engaged the practice? For me, it speaks of a soulful recognition that we are all connected with the ongoing cycles and seasons of Nature. We are all apart of Nature rather than a part from Nature. We are the beneficiaries, stewards, guardians and custodians of Nature. Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten this sacred trust and have become ignorers and exploiters.
Today I was awed at the collaboration of Humanity with Nature. I experienced a park that was designed to enhance Nature and the Humans that would become part of it. I sat in large open spaces that invited meditation, contemplation, participation and action. Words can’t capture the amazing serenity I experienced sitting on a bench under eight giant cottonwood trees and a smattering of mature oaks. A gentle wind rustled the leaves while children played in the distance intuitively knowing this space of grace.
Meanwhile, men and women wrangle and argue about who’s right and wrong, what constitutes violence and non violence, what’s enough and not, who belongs and doesn’t, why we can be here while others can’t, where we belong and don’t, when we are acceptable and not and on and on and on and on. . .To ‘sit and watch the leaves turn’ is to stop the everyday running around, the egocentric push and pull that pits us against one another and all of Nature. It’s the necessary ‘inner glimpse’ into All-Being.
As I sit here at my modest table covered with books, papers, nature icons, a picture, a bell, a lamp, a candle and this computer; I’m made aware of how much time I take to watch the leaves turn in every season of life. I’m attending to the wonder of the aging process and the blessings in every turning, every color change, every movement between light and dark; birth, life, death and new life. I’m blessed, as we all are, with each day, week, month, season, year, decade, lifetime. The candle is lit, extinguished and lit again. It’s an ongoing fluidity that’s captured in watching the leaves turn.
If awareness precedes change, then the awareness of September Serenity is the change that calls us to stop, look, listen and love the moments that capture our imagination and inner knowing. Our souls are soothed every moment of every day as we embrace the colored leaves floating in the wind to fertilize new growth. Like the Spring flowers that beckon our attention, we are called to remember who we are, where we’re going and why we’re here. Even in the midst of death there’s the sweet serenity of new life, the loveliest smile of All. What an amazing gift to those who embrace it.
- Over the next week take leisurely walks and notice the leaves as they begin to turn. During your walk, find a place to sit, to feel the environment, experience the breeze, the sun, the clouds, the changes in the air and the leaves turning into flowers. . . .
- When the opportunity presents itself, pick up a turning leaf that has fallen from a tree, acknowledge it, give thanks for it and bring it home with you as a token of the wonder-filled changes you are going through. Awaken to your common union with it. . . .
- Take the opportunity this week to get outdoors and explore some places you are both familiar and not familiar with. Calm and Center. Feel the air, the ground, the changing disposition of the trees. Look, breathe deeply, give thanks and see with the new eyes of September Serenity. . . .