Have you driven past a pumpkin patch lately? If so, then you’ve probably noticed fat, round, orange pumpkins sitting in careful rows. Besides their bright pop of color against the brown earth, what makes the pumpkins so noticeable is the ABSENSE of all the wide-leaved green foliage which hid them from view all summer.
The foliage, having done an admirable job of providing the pumpkins the nutrients they needed to grow to their hefty size, has now died back, leaving the plump pumpkins to take center stage.
Harvest the Gifts:
The pumpkins, in their bright glory, are like our successes and achievements, evident after months of effort, time and attention, there, the very tangible results: the weight we lost through our dedication to a food plan and exercise; or the promotion after diligent service; or a happier marriage from a renewed commitment to kindness and partnership.
Beautifully, autumn offers rich metaphors for this time of year, a season of reflection. The fall harvest offers us an opportunity to be present to the gifts present in our lives; the largess so obvious it could be displayed like magnificent garden bounty at a sun-drenched Farmer’s Market: our support network of family and friends; steady jobs and paychecks; our health; our community – the SPLENDOR of a beautiful life spread out like bright purple eggplants and beets; orange carrots; bright green Brussels sprouts and broccoli; a gorgeous and generous display.
Many times, though, the gifts we experience aren’t the ones we necessarily recognize and pay close attention to – the flannel sheets on a freshly made bed, a kind word or hug, a card arriving in the mail, a good conversation with a friend – if only they announced themselves with the vividness of bright yellow birch leaves against a bright blue sky, then, perhaps we’d notice and be in a heart-felt state of gratitude for them.
Does your heart sing when the leaves begin to turn and produce their showy display of golden yellow, fiery orange and crimson red, contrasting with the serene, blue sky? If you are like me, there is both appreciation and melancholy in the knowledge that the year is winding down. I revel in the beauty of hillsides arrayed in red and gold, and they are a reminder: be in enjoyment now and all things come to an end.
Autumn’s colorful splendor appears as if the leaves, themselves, are CELEBRATING a purposeful, meaningful life – after all, they, at the height of summer, provided nutrients for the tree and offered much shelter and shade – as much as it acknowledges their inevitable death.
Here is what I love: the burnt-orange hue of a Sugar Maple leaf, that is their authentic pigment – it is now being revealed in this final blaze of color. And it is a great time for wondering …
…how can you reveal more of your AUTHENTIC self – the bright blaze of your personality, like the vivid display of red, orange, or yellow leaves against blue sky – now, while you still have time on this earth?
…is there something in the last 10 months which you can whole-heartedly celebrate, something that deserves a colorful tribute, like the golden blaze the Sugar-Maple gives its leaves?
The cooler days and nights signal the upcoming winter, and the tree, in order to save itself, has in the waning light, made a special seal between each leaf and the branch it is connected to; this keeps the nutrients inside itself. Similar to the trees, is there a place in your own life where you need to set a clear boundary or two? Perhaps, like the trees, you also need to focus on self-care, providing yourself with the nourishment you need to survive and thrive into another season.
The leaves fall easily to the ground. The foliage, so necessary during the summer, dies back, falls away, and becomes rich COMPOST as it eventually breaks down; it provides nutrients for the soil and helps prepare for the ground for a healthy growing season in spring. This too, provides beautiful moments for wondering…
…What can you let go of; what will you let easily fall away?
…Are there experiences of this past year which can be viewed as a helpful life lesson, to be turned into life-sustaining compost?
…Is there, perhaps, a habit of being, which has served you well – like the green, productive leaves of trees and plants – and yet, which is no longer necessary or beneficial in this next phase of your life?
In these final days of October, what will you do with the available light? Will you choose to breathe in acceptance and gratitude which ride the blustery winds of change? What gifts will you harvest; what lessons will you hold to your heart; what will you choose to let fall away, like a leaf in an autumn breeze?
Would you like to explore any of these questions more deeply? If so, I’d be thrilled to support you as you seek to harvest your lessons and gifts of 2015, contact me here.