I love this time of year. The weather is generally sunny and warm during the day and cool at night.
When I used to walk to school as a kid it was a pain because you had to bundle up in the morning but by lunch, you were warm and wishing for shorts again. You can always tell when you are a true WestCoast person because you cherish all of your sunny dry days knowing that the rains will soon be here. The other reason I love this time of the year is the amazing colours everywhere. The trees are changing colours and you get a new batch of colour each week. As each different type of tree starts to lose their leaves, their colours change too. We just came back from a little time away to our favourite camping spot. Instead of being there in the heat of summer, we chose this year to go when it was a little cooler and definitely quieter. When it was time, we chose the long drive home. It added a couple of hours to our trip but it was so worth it because the colours were amazing.
This gave me time to love the colours and think. Think about why the leaves change colour. Think about what it means in the life of the tree. Think of the other things that depend on that tree. When the tree is small and growing like crazy. When it is in its fullest big green leaves of summer. And then what it means as it is preparing for winter. It made me think of life in general. It made me think about my life and the lives of the people around me. It made me think about the age that I am at and how society looks upon people as their “leaves” start to change colour.
It’s kind of funny how when you compare the life of a tree and our lives, there are a whole lot of similarities and yet we surely don’t treat each other with the same respect as a tree.
- We see little saplings and don’t give them a thought. In our yards they are weeds if they are not in the right place, not the right kind, not the right shape, we simply discard them for perfection. We see babies and cherish them. We nurture them, spend a huge amount of money making them comfortable and adorable, we make their lives a beautiful as we can.
- We see small trees and now at least acknowledge that one day they will be useful. One day they will offer the shade we planted them for. One day they will offer the privacy we crave and one day we will be satisfied enough to nurture them by trimming them and taking care of them. We see teens as that same thing; one day they will be useful. One day they will get a job and pay a little rent. One day they won’t talk back and one day they will be productive members of society.
- We see mature trees as beautiful additions to our streets and gardens. They offer all the things we planned for them. People admire them, notice how you have taken care of them. You rake their leaves, trim the branches and enjoy them on hot summer days. Our young adults are the ‘pretty people’ that we all wish we looked like. Their bodies are the envy of both young and old. They have endless energy and have enough wisdom to be able to carry on a useful conversation.
- We see trees in the autumn with amazing colours. We wonder why did the tree keep those colours so long hidden inside. We wish we could see these colours for more than just a few weeks. We spend time making piles of raked leaves for kids to play in and use them for insulation for the upcoming winter. We see people with wrinkles and wonder why they ‘let themselves go’ We see people with grey hair and wonder why they don’t dye it. We see the ageing body and instead of enjoying the autumn of our days we wish for more youth. Instead of admiring the next phase we wish we could either stop time or turn it back.
- We see trees in the winter with no leaves and just walk on by. We see elderly people and do the same. Finally a parallel. Sad. But it doesn’t need to be that way.
As I have entered into the time in my life where my wrinkles are not hidden. My grey hair is admittedly coloured, but not the same colour as when I was a teen, as my skin starts to sag and I make creaking noises as I move, I think about the fall colours and how much I love them. It is my time to embrace my autumn and love the skin I am in. There are so many blessings simply because I am as old as I am. My three amazing children and my grandson are living proof of that. You don’t get grandkids when you are young and being a grandma is absolutely the best thing ever.
I am not planning on entering into my old age counting my days sitting a rocking chair. I plan on staying as physically fit as I can. I want to be one of those old trees that get better as they age. Still offering shade, having great colours in the fall and making sure that I am as useful as possible for as long as possible.
Middle age is the awkward period when Father Time starts catching up with Mother Nature. – Harold Coffin