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  • Writer's pictureMarnie Hammar

Learning Resolve from Fallen Leaves

My footsteps cracked acorns as I came up the hill. The morning light highlighted the greens and reds and golds ahead of me.⁠

I delight in walking under this row of trees as their united stance, like soldiers, offers a refreshing canopy of color from their shoulder to shoulder formation. Today though, as autumn marches forward to claim the leaves, I notice one of the soldiers stands empty, picked over, its limbs bare, its leaves lying below in a crunchy heap. Just one of them, fully exposed.⁠

The changing season removes the illusion of their uniformity, and this single tree’s shed leaves tell a story. ⁠

I wonder, what makes one tree let go sooner than the rest, and so of course, I ask Google. Even within the same species, trees let go of their leaves at different times, as influenced by both environment and chemistry inside the tree. This sounds familiar—human even. Like these tree soldiers, I, too, endure battles from fronts external and within; and I, too, weather those differently from others. ⁠

In seeing this tree laid bare before the others, I assumed weakness—but this tree’s premature shedding seems braver to me now. Perhaps, the pile at its base doesn’t tell of weakness, but of resolve. ⁠

I pray to know when to shed my wilted leaves, focusing not on when others shed theirs, but instead on sinking my own roots deeper, to stand firm against the coming cold and harsh.

Read the rest at The Joyful Life Magazine.


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