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Even the Green Leaves Fall

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

We tend to think of autumn as the season of change, maybe because it’s a showy season, the vibrant color, the dramatic sacrifice of leaves, the bare branches at the end. But changes and losses and impermanence are continual; they show up in every season.

There’s a wind high in the trees this spring morning, blowing in from the north, clear and cold.

In this wind, even green leaves are falling, with the last of the tulip poplar and honeysuckle blooms.

This week, my friend’s cat died, far too young, and only months after he had lost his far-too-young mother. Even the sweetest marriage may die, as the dogwood petals drop and are crushed underfoot, washed away in the next rain.

Other friends are moving, retiring, marrying, changing jobs, buying homes, renovating homes, getting pregnant. Looking for new cats. Our lives are full of change.

My students are going away for the summer. This is why spring is the most melancholy time of year for me. A few, always, are graduating, moving on. Maybe they’ll stay connected; maybe they won’t. I can’t cling to them, or any ideas I have about them.

I can’t cling to my own hopes, even, if I want to maintain serenity. My kingdom is not the one that’s coming, after all.

One thing I can do—I’m learning to do—is celebrate. I can celebrate my personal growth, my students’ growth, my friends’ good news, the development and vibrancy of my ministry. I can celebrate the beauty of the place where I have landed for now, the sweetness of my home, the people who have newly come into my life. I can enjoy (joy is my word for 2019) this moment, perhaps even learn not to resist the elements that feel less than joyful. I can celebrate the open sky behind whatever weather blows through, even when the green leaves fall.

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