This time of year, a whole host of people come to the northeast to view the fall foliage. It’s a tradition. We love this. We marvel at it. The colors are without parallel. But what’s really happening here? In truth, the leaves that are so rich with color are actually dying. They will eventually dry up, fall to the ground, and mulch back into the soil. The curious thing is—none of us fights this. In fact, we celebrate it. We understand it to be a natural phenomenon; and the people who can afford it spend considerable amounts of money to come and watch it all unfold.
It occurs to me we could adapt this attitude to our own lives. I mean, big picture, what’s really happening here, really? We are dying. Every last one of us. We are in the process of going through our life cycle, and not a one of us will escape that final desiccation, till at last we crack free of the branch, and waft to the ground back and forth on the breath of the wind. But do we accept this as a natural phenomenon? Do we marvel at it? No! We fight it, we deny it. We see it as a problem, and throw billions of dollars at it. We run screaming the other direction (as though we could.)
Take a minute and think about this.
When we happen onto a heart-stopping vermillion tree in the full passion of its autumnal goodbye, is our first thought, “Don’t worry. I’ve got a product that can reverse the ravages of time. You can be green again.” Hell no. We bring our cameras. We point the beauty out to our friends. We rake up the fallen leaves and make big mountains of them so our children and fall down in them. We love this. We marvel at it.
So as I turn 57, I am trying on the thought that I’m the human equivalent (for the next couple of decades anyway) of the bright red tree down the street from me. My body is softening, growing thicker in the middle. My hair is graying a little, thinning. Lines are showing up in my face, on my hands. I still feel really beautiful, just in a completely different way than before. And I feel my age.
That said, two days from now, I’m embarking on a new adventure. I’ll be starting a Yoga Teacher Training program on October 16th that will go through May of next year. This is enormously exciting to me, and part of me feels like I have an entire lifetime ahead of me.
So I guess everything is relative. And, certainly everything is impermanent.
And I bow to all of it.
Happy birthday to me!