In conversation with an older friend, I heard her say, “The trees are losing their leaves.” She continued, “I love it. They are so happy to not have to hold the weight of all those green leaves.”
Because I have heard iconoclastic comments from this friend before, I did not ask her to repeat. But I did take some time to ponder.
Growing up in the heavily wooded paradise of central Wisconsin, the beauty of fall was always a reason to be proud of where we lived. Each year the explosion of beauty seemed to outdo the year before.
But, the green leaves changing to red, gold and yellow meant the tree would stand naked for the winter. Somehow it represented death and not until spring did we talk about new life.
If I had been asked to put an emotional label on a tree with no leaves I would have chosen “sad”.
But, now maybe not.
Is it possible to think of a tree crowded with leaves as busy? Is it possible that being set free from the responsibility of each and all of these leaves provides freedom? Is it possible to look at this transition as a gain and not a loss?
It’s been five months now since I have had to attend a meeting, prepare a budget or evaluate my last annual review.
Am I happy that my leaves have drifted from my branches? Yes.
Do I feel free? Not yet. I am recognizing that learning to live without imposed business puts me at risk for self- imposed business. I am asking, “When did I ever have time to work?”
I am going to process my loss and learn to celebrate the gain.
I will bend with the wind, allow myself to be pruned, be available to be the wood needed for a cross, or let children climb on me.
I am not at the end of anything. I will lean into Jesus shoulder and listen for his heartbeat. There will be no rustling leaves to muffle his voice.
Yes, bare trees have potential to be ecstatically happy