Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Letting go

When we discuss Autumn, we talk about Fall.
     "Fall is the time of year when the leaves fall off the trees."  "Trees lose their leaves in fall," we say, as if the trees are stripped and naked in the freezing elements.

Losing and falling are terms that suggest a mistake or an accident. They are not terms that suggest greatness. And actually, these terms are inaccurate when it comes to trees.

Here are some other terms to describe Autumn: Release, allow, let go.

At the end of the growing season trees begin the process of leaf release.  They let the leaves go when they are no longer needed to participate in photosynthesis and when keeping them is going to do more damage than good. The tree allows the wind to sweep the leaves away. Leaf release is a carefully orchestrated, meaningful action that has nothing to do with an accident or a mistake on the tree's part.

Letting go is well-known phrase these days.  It's associated with 12 step programs and learning when enough is enough.  It's a regular part of growing up and creating boundaries in life.  We utilize this idea in relationships and at work.  It isn't always easy for us but it is biological.

This November I'm thankful for the trees, who have set an example of the healthiest way to live-- breath deep, bask in the sun, create something, let go.

Below is an excerpt from Peter Thomas's Trees: Their Natural History :

    "...leaves act as independent units, similar to a block of apartments.  If a tenant is not paying their rent, they are thrown out; if a leaf is a net drain on the tree--if is using more energy than it produces--it is shed...Leaf shedding is not just a case of leaf death: if a branch is snapped or the leaves are killed by sudden stress, the leaves wither in place but are remarkably hard to pull off.  Leaf fall involves a carefully executed severance..."