Photo by Igor Oliyarnik on Unsplash
Some of the autumn leaves scattered on the ground are still brightly colored with yellows and reds as if they weren’t ready to fall from the branches that had been their summer home. Most though, are brown and brittle, waiting to disappear under the coming winter snow.
Looking at fallen autumn leaves used to remind me of what I had lost during my divorce. I remember how my sense of security had blown away all those years ago, and how friends who felt they had to choose sides fell out of my life. Like the last of the leaves floating to earth, I would remember how I let go in despair as I lost trust in myself, asking, “How did I not see what was happening? How did I not know?” I had been shaken to my core and all that remained were the dark bare branches of my life, vulnerable and empty.
Fallen leaves and empty branches are signs of the coming winter. In the midst of divorce, just as in the midst of winter, there are days it’s hard to imagine you can survive until spring reappears. Spring seems too far away, and you’re so tired of being cold.
But seasons change, and just like the seasons of our lives, there is aways a spring that returns vibrant with hope and new possibilities.
Over the years I’ve shifted my focus from fallen leaves and began to identify with branches; some graceful, some twisted with age, yet each waiting patiently for spring. Branches that seemed bare and dark will fill with buds that open and unfold into lush green leaves, rich and textured, shimmering in the sun and swaying in the soft breeze.
These branches would not been able to hold this new life if the old had remained.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to wait patiently for change. Sometimes change shakes me to my core. Yet branches and the trees that support them and that are rooted deeply in the earth, quietly remind me that life will always renew itself.