I took a walk through the leaves today. I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a routine keeper, but I am. So the walk I took today was the same walk I take everyday.
As I’ve found myself on this same route in the last few weeks, I’ve found myself contemplating the same thought often.
I think I want to be like a leaf.
See, starting out the leaves break forth in vibrant in color, bringing fresh life and a hope of spring to the slowly receding grays of winter. They greet life fully, trying to embracing the sun. They reach for the skies above. They dance in the wind, and let the rain splash across their surfaces. They embrace their life, and where they were placed in this world.
Then slowly, steadily, they mature. They grow broader, reach further. Their ability to shade the world increases, just in time for summer’s grand appearance. They’re at the peak of their strength, able to withstand the warmth without withering, and rare summer storms without falling.
And as the leaves continue to age, and fall approaches, they begin to change. Their colors change, thereby changing the world around them. They bring more beauty, their shades are vibrant, drawing in the attention of the world. Every leaf is its own unique design, becoming more evident as every day passes. More colorful and independent when looked at alone, yet even more beautiful when contrasting with the others.
Viewing these leaves made me think; Isn’t that what we are like as people? Bursting forth, becoming our own and then continuing to grow into who we are supposed to be. Colorful. Vibrant. Unique.
As I continued my walk, I came to one of my favorite spots to pass on my daily venture. It’s just a sidewalk, a lone sidewalk next to a busy street. But it always leaves me more joyful for passing. And the reason being comes back to the actual leaves…
Life is only temporary for the leaves on trees. After they’ve grown strong, they begin to grow brittle. Their previously brilliant colors take on fading hues, a shadow of what they once were. Some of them fall suddenly from their perches. Others hang onto the branches that have given them life, refusing the imminent outcome… eventually they will have to accept change is coming. They have to let go.
Though even as the leaves fall, they have to know they haven’t finished their stories. There’s still more life to be lived by them. They get to bring their fading colors to streets, lawns and sidewalks. They decorate our world. They are celebrated, reveled. (Okay, I know some leaves may be cursed, not everyone enjoys yard work. Humor me here, please?) They’ve brought us shade, comfort and joy for the year, and now they have a new task; to become a symbol. A symbol of change that is about to come. Change that is imminent and sometimes unwelcome. That, as the autumn of life has now arrived, it will quickly usher in the darkness of winter.
So what is my favorite moment in my path? What is the moment that leaves me pondering bigger things than usual? The moment when I get to stomp through crunchy leaves that cross my path? Nope. While I love doing that, and I’m sure I look ridiculous doing so, that’s not my favorite moment.
It’s the moment I come across the leaves that are gone. The leaves that have faded into oblivion. The leaves that would be forgotten if it wasn’t for one thing… they’ve left a lasting impression.
Somehow, the leaves have left their mark, a mark that hasn’t disappeared despite inches of rainfall. A mark that hasn’t faded in the sun, and isn’t affected by the bleakness of winter. A mark that is seemingly permanent.
I want to be like those leaves. I want to have my grand entrances (anyone else think of the Seinfeld episode where George wont break up with his girlfriend because he wants to make a grand entrance at the ball?). I want to grow in wisdom, help cover others through the tough times in life. I want to stand strong through the summers and winters in life. I want to be a colorful person, which should explain why I have so many tattoos… (Okay, I just made that up. I just like ink.) But even more so, in this world I want to leave my mark. Not just a trail of nonsense, but one of an indelible, important impact.
I want to leave an impression on the world that lasts. An impression of love, of kindness, of giving…of hope.
And if I’m honest, which I always aim to be, I’d also like to leave behind a legacy of sarcasm. After all, it truly is my speciality.
Thoughts? What kind of impression do you aim to leave behind?