Let’s go for a walk…

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold… JM

These past few weeks, I have been invited to a party
hosted by Mother Nature.
Her paintbox explodes as far, as far…
Serene green is slowly morphing into fiery landscapes
of autumn finery- signaling potential. A new light play
is on offer.
Stark changes evolve as the foliage flames; my question:
what changes? what does not change?
In the autumn of my life, how will I answer?

Celebration: flame, lacy, brown crowns- each plays inevitably.
Invitations -what is there to say about leaves?
Red and yellow and orange and brown…
Each shape transforms its reality by letting go
of tree and branch, journeying lazily on the wind towards
a new truth…a new geography awaits.
Treasured, collected, photographed, valued.
These variegated carpets- so freely offered.
Compost piles: agents of reincarnation-
soil for new growth and opportunity.
What am I prepared to let go of?
What am I allowing to begin? Legacy?

Conversations of living:
Spoken, chirped, skittered, hidden: each a pause-
an insight into transience and transition. Cycles.
Our human nature also lives in cycles. I am aware of mine-
and have come to understand that embedded in every ending
is a beginning. Over is such an ‘overused’ word.Think spring.

Relationships become apparent as stark silhouettes reach for the sky
Anchored in the earth and communicating with above and around-
mediums to remind us of strength and acceptance.
Reminding me-
despite the winds of circumstance and experience, the essential me remains.
What about my own relationships with myself, with other? How do I communicate?
Sun, wind, rain, others of my kind- I share and connect as do trees, each in their way- inspiring hope, peace, calm.
The web of life.
The party continues and I am alive.

Life composts and seeds us as autumn does the earth. P. Palmer


Connections with trees

Dear Donna,

Last week, when l was driving to your house, l was struck by the colour of the leaves on the trees: symphonies of red, yellow, orange—glamorous costumes for these titans of nature. I saw the shape of each tree, a framework to hold the leaves in place, especially at their showy best. I also observed the promise that the trunk and branches will have their turn to display to the world their power and presence.

It is the cyclical nature of this process that interests me. There is always the spring promise of green in tiny increments responding to the warmth of renewal and possibility. We are always grateful to see this thaw, this indicator of what is to come. Sometimes, there are blossoms to perfume the air and foreshadow the glory. Our hearts respond to these initiatives; we do not have to, nor can we, command or control their progression. 

Summer arrives and the stately green and red of each tree signals that it is working: providing shade, holding soil in place, offering space for birds’ nests—a mix of the art and science of life for everyone to see; it is often taken for granted but holding high our expectations and dreams. Sometimes, the trees are removed if they get in the way or are needed for human constructions. Their spindly replacements will take many years to mature and become valued members of the natural world. Whether they are foreign or native born may impact how they grow or the value we place on them. Trees are owned only by virtue of where they stand on a particular property; their roots and being could tell another story. 

Autumn appears and most leaves change colour; their lifeblood retreats as does their value. There is a blaze of glory, no matter their circumstances. This leafy torch is also me: whatever my personal circumstances, l am celebrated and acknowledged. Trees also let go of much that no longer interests or aids them. Then, winter arrives with no costume; tree life is seemingly dead. Its lifeblood has gone dormant. lt is then that we can see the strength and shape of each titan that is no longer hidden by costume or care. The end of a cycle is perceptible, but permanence belongs elsewhere. Within each tree there is the promise of spring—dormant until the warmth appears and the circle begins again. Once again, the natural world comes alive with colour and shape; the green of possibility emerges. Trees bend and breathe again with other parts of nature; each is unique and strong, but always changing and responding to its surroundings.

And so it is for us. We go through many cycles in our lives as we live from birth to death: child, adolescent, adult, senior. Each phase has changes and progressions. Beginnings and endings dominate our lives, but none are more prominent than after a major event. ln my case, it was retirement—standing alone without the protection of leaves and particular tasks. What function can I now serve? l certainly had my dormant season, wondering about my own worth and what my lifeblood could make of the life l had lived to this point. 

But! l hold the promise of spring: waiting, wondering about wisdom and ageing. What warmth will appear to enliven the new life? l will live well, perhaps in changed circumstances, but secure in the possibilities that are available to me. My creative streak will breathe with me and longs to be part of the world I inhabit with others; its voice is unique and strong. My questions include: What will my response be? Who will be my companions? What will I create? 

As my new leaves appear, it is for sure that friendships and community will colour them all. 

Thank you for being there.