Live Like a Leaf Dying

our maples

I just learned something grade school kids hear in science class: most leaves don’t change color.*

As autumn releases summer into winter, as the sun progressively turns in early and rises late, a leaf’s greenness (fueled by chlorophyll) fades and what is revealed is a leaf’s true, ever-present hue.

In our backyard are two maple trees, one glowing golden, the other chlorophyll green (no, the photo doesn’t do justice to “glowing golden,” you’re going to have to trust me on this). All summer their leaves drank in the sun, succored and saved. But now it is time for the leaves to take off their chlorophyll mask, release their work and show us themselves. In a final flash of brilliance we get to see their breathtaking essence, what was always there but was masked by task and purpose. As you can see in the photo, one “gets it,” the other, being hugged by its brother, not so much. Eventually, we all know, the younger will follow the elder. Death is universal, some just deny and fight it more than others…

I wonder if the same is true for task-oriented and purpose driven people. I wonder if, in our last moments, we finally release our have-tos, our to-dos, our possessions and personas and become who we are underneath it all.

I wonder…do we need to be on our deathbed before we realize and reveal our essence, our being, our beauty?

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