Change Happens

Listen. I’m excited for pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pumpkins (aka fall) as much as the next girl on social media. But does anyone else have the strange sense that we were just eating hotdogs and watching fireworks at our Fourth of July celebrations a couple of days ago? I mean, where did the summer go? It’s like I remember a long heat wave and then it all just goes blank…

And it’s in this strange amnesia that I walk around and notice that people are talking about how they can’t wait for it to be cold, and how they can already feel the crunch of leaves underfoot. (Underfeet??) And still, I’m all like, hold up! We have almost an entire month until that all happens. Why are you showing summer the door when she’s been (relatively) kind to you?

And alright, I admit it, I’m just not ready. I’m not ready for apple cider, and seeing my own breath, and mittens, and trees that look like they’ve been lit on fire, and trying desperately (but failing) to come up with a Halloween costume that doubles as social commentary. I was pretty sure that I could fight against the fall tide for a while, just a couple more weeks.

Until I saw it driving home the other day.

“It” was a small tree, maybe a few years post-sapling, standing quite proudly on the exit ramp. One little corner of her leaves had turned completely red and gold while the rest stayed as verdant as they had been in spring. It was like she was just a tiny bit embarrassed and had just started to blush.

And I thought, Not you too! It’s not even cold! 

But it made me realize something very quickly: change happens. No, really. You may not be ready for it. You may not even think that it should be happening. I surely didn’t think it was time for the leaves on the trees to start changing colors. But there it was, inarguable and steadfast, truly defying whatever internal clock I had been synced to. Change happens, whether you are ready or not. Whether you think it should or not. Whether you want it to or not. Even for that little tree. And especially for you.

So, whether it’s a change in the weather or a change in your life, you need to remember that change is inevitable. But whether you embrace it or resist it will always be up to you.

There’s A Little Fall in All of Us

Something really strange starts to happen around the fall. The sweaters come out of hiding, pumpkin seems to infect every flavor profile, and instead of confetti, we have leaves falling all around us. This change seems to not only affect our surroundings (ya know, those of us with deciduous trees around us) but also ourselves. (Except, of course, department stores. Somehow, they go from August to Christmas…I don’t know who is making that decision.)

But it is such a curious thing that we notice the leaves and the weather changing. We feel the crispness, and we crunch the leaves. Yet, we are loath to see the changes in ourselves. We can’t acknowledge how far we have come in our own lives. Because we do change. We’re changing every day. We’re making progress all the time, even when it feels like we are slipping backwards. But because we don’t feel our change, don’t display it in a vibrant display of colors, it somehow goes unnoticed to us. I, for one, think it is time that we recognize it.

Let’s start small:

Did you know, on average, skin cells live about 2-3 weeks?

2-3 weeks?

That birthmark or freckle you’ve had since you were born, it’s been through a couple of lifetimes since you’ve lived one. And yet, we’re so afraid of change. We’re so afraid of ruining a routine or a lifestyle. We get up everyday, and we try to do things exactly the same, so we don’t get stressed. We don’t like surprises. A step out of place means an entire mind out of align.

But really, we’re living in a constant state of flux, and it doesn’t matter how close we play our cards to our chest. More things change in our lives than stay the same. Many more things. In fact, those leaves changing colors on that tree take more time changing than you do.

So, why don’t we like change? Because it doesn’t taste like pumpkins and it doesn’t wrap us in warmth like our favorite sweaters?

Maybe. But maybe we don’t like it because we can’t predict it like the seasons. Our changes are on some sort of cycle, but one that is unknown to us. We can’t tell when it’s going to happen. But that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for it. The paradox is that we can prepare for it by understanding that change is constant. That the world will not stop moving, spinning on and on. And that we should never try to struggle against it.

So, whether you are seeking change but not finding it or warding against it even when it is there, I simply hope that when you see a new leaf, you’ll celebrate turning one, too.

Also, lay off winter. Just because we don’t hibernate during it, doesn’t mean we should give it the cold shoulder.

Be Like a Tree and Leaf It Be

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

This is the time when all of the trees lose their leaves but not before they turn a beautiful port wine, russet color. It’s a gorgeous sight to see all the crowns and tops aflame (figuratively, of course, before you get the wrong idea). But besides being an ephemeral beauty, what can trees teach us?

We know that trees can provide us with the entertainment of the season, the crackling of their leaves’ husks under our feet. But they bear a simple message that we need to remember, not just now, but all year round. It is this:

If you don’t need it, drop it like it’s hot.

After all, what do trees do in fall? They lose their leaves due to the simple reason that they do not need them anymore. They’ve made enough food to last them, and they know that they can easily grow more leaves if they need them. But for now, it is time to shed the extra weight and simply be.

Now, I’m not saying that evergreens are emotionally disturbed because they do not drop their leaves in winter. However, they are the victims of a certain Christian holiday and  are cut down shortly after this season. (Coincidence? I think not.) So, maybe the Oaks and the Black Walnuts of the world know something that the evergreens don’t? They at least know something that we (humans) forget.

You need to let things go when they no longer serve you. When things have run their course, you need to leave (leaf) them be. It will not help you to dwell on things–picking them back up, turning them over in your hands, even crunching them under your feet. You need to let them wing on the breeze, and you need to say goodbye when something or someone isn’t absolutely supporting you. Even if this act leaves you bare for a few months.

It’s okay to leave a good thing because it is no longer good. But always remember your roots.