Insights From a Fall Tree

Posted on October 1st, 2013 by

Maple leaf
Falling down
Showing front
Showing back
-Ryokan, Japanese Zen poet

It is officially autumn. The birds and squirrels are busy creating caches of seeds for the winter, the grasshoppers are busily eating all the grass, and the leaves are changing color. I know that a lot of people have mixed feelings about this month. Some anxiously await the vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds painted across the horizon and unavoidable desire to step on every crunchy leaf on the sidewalk. Others dwell on the fact that everything seems to be dying and that the cooler temperatures mean that the frigid months of winter are soon upon us.

For me, the changing of seasons provides for a time of reflection. I see autumn as a time of change and moving forward. Living a human life, we all know that it is human nature that our lives will not always be characterized by green grass and pretty flowers. We all experience times in our lives where we feel like a brown patch of grass or the barren skeleton of a winterized maple tree.

The season of autumn reminds me that as humans we are vulnerable. In a way, autumn is one of the truest season. The barren skeleton of a winterized maple tree shows the world truly what it is; in the autumn, it does not hide what is underneath with a coating of leaves or a blanket of snow. It is what it is and it is willing to show the world. Although it might be cliché, we can learn from the autumn trees. Ryokan’s poem about the maple leaf illustrates that these trees have nothing to hide. There is no better side to the leaf: as the leaf falls it shows the front and the back. As humans we try to show the better side of ourselves; however, we sometimes fail to show people who we truly are.


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