Isn’t it funny how the wind whips the leaves of a tree around the way it does? In the beginning of autumn, the temperatures drop, which signals to the vegetation that they need to prepare for winter. The plants’ energy starts to concentrate in the roots, the leaves begin to change to beautiful vibrant yellows, oranges, and maroons. These leaves will twirl down, gently, on a light breeze. But every now and then, the wind comes screaming in, and any leaf that was nearly ready to drop is mercilessly ripped from its hold on the tree’s branch and sent flying through the air.
It reminds me of a hesitant child at the edge of a pool. By all means, they are physically prepared to jump in, but the child hesitates, frozen, not entirely “ready”. And while this child is preoccupied with weighing the pros and cons of the angle of the water, the timing of their jump, the suddenness of warm-to-cool temperatures — an adult runs up behind them and shoves them into the pool. It’s often such a shock that the child cries or screams in alarm but, wouldn’t you know it, they’re almost grateful for the help. Sometimes a quick shove is what’s needed to move us forward and out of paralysis.
Is this what the wind is doing? Oh the wisdom of the wind. It ushers in the sharp change of pressure and tests our grasp on whatever it is we hold onto. When the wind blows, the leaves travel much farther. Those ready at the gentle breath of the prior breeze, they’re meant to simply glide down and stay close to their place of origin. Perhaps, in the wind, those leaves who were formerly too petrified to let go are intended to journey beyond what they originally thought possible.
I’ve been in the wind before and I think I’m possibly a nomadic leaf. But then again, that’s not really a thing is it? Everything is a cycle. I may have been a leaf, then, snapped off from my home branch and sent soaring in one direction, maybe even a few different directions. Eventually I would have landed somewhere, and come to rest. Weighed down by snow, frost, rain, or dirt, I would have been held in place and broken down to nurture the soil and bugs around me. Something else would grow in that spot then, purposed for flourishing, nourishing, then shedding, and moving on or settling into its roots to begin again the next year. Always moving forward.
I wonder if that initial tear is painful — when a leaf is broken from its branch in the wind. I would imagine there’s some amount of discomfort for the leaf as well as the tree. One thing is certain: there's usually a great deal of uncertainty. The leaf won’t ever be able to return the same way it left. The wind isn’t telling where the leaf will be, in the end. There’s a question of, “what’s my purpose if not to serve the tree from which I came?”
Trees are wise, though. The wind is also wise. They both have lived many cycles and they understand that discomfort and uncertainty are a natural part of life. I think this is the lesson for today.
The wind is blowing.