When we think of Fall, we think of the leaves “changing color”, but that’s not what’s happening at all. They are shedding the green, and revealing the bright and beautiful colors they’ve been all along. But how many of us think of it this way? We’re so used to seeing the green. From the minute those baby leaves sprout forth in the Spring, that’s what we see, and we think that’s all there is. The green pigment serves its purpose…chlorophyll helps a plant create energy that’s needed for the leaf to grow and live. It can then provide shade and do everything else it was put here to do. But when a leaf nears the end of its life, the tree blocks the flow of chlorophyll, so it sheds all that and becomes its true, glorious, self.
Like leaves, our “true selves” are on the inside, and they are brighter and better than anything we can imagine when we’re born and as we grow. Like the chlorophyll that feeds the leaf, so our bodies give us energy and protection. Our bodies are vehicles and it’s important to keep them healthy, but our bodies are not us. What is within will live forever. I was reminded of this on a walk today when I found this perfect bright yellow leaf. It’s dying but it’s glorious. It reminded me of this quote from C.S. Lewis.
“It is a serious thing,” says Lewis, “to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ‘ordinary’ people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”
As this leaf returns to the Earth from which it came, it will become part of something much bigger, and so will we, and isn’t that wonderful to know?