Does a tree say to leaves turning golden in July, “Stop! Go back to green! It’s not time to change seasons yet! It’s not time to bring out your autumn wardrobe of many colours.”
Or does it embrace nature’s ways with grace and ease? Accepting that all things happen in their own time. All things unfold as they are meant to unfold. Because, the trees know, they are not separate from nature. They are one with all of life on earth.
There are glimmers of gold in the trees this morning. Buffalo berries glow bright red in the bushes outside my window. And the sun glows red in a smoke clouded sky.
We are in the height of summer here on the leeward side of the Rocky Mountains. The forests are lush and green. The yet to turn golden green fronds of prairie grasses dance in the wind as if pulled by a puppeteer’s unseen hands.
And I want to yell at the leaves that continue to fade from green to golden, “Go back. Go back. You’re not welcome here… Yet.”
And I know my exhortations to retreat will be unheeded.
It is nature’s way.
To change. To flow. To be impervious to my demands as it struggles to meet the demands of a world where the very beings that make life on earth possible, the trees and rivers and oceans and air, are being continuously bombarded with our insensitive human ways.
Perhaps that is why the most recent spate of wildfires and floods and other natural disasters have felt so daunting. So incomprehensible. So sad.
Nature is responding in the only way it knows how to our continued demands it accept our garbage, our toxic waste, our extravagant assertions it act like a sponge to all we thoughtlessly deposit into the air and rivers and oceans and fields and forests and valley bottoms. It has reached the zenith of all it can contain. It is breaking open, breaking down and we, the humans of this world, are responsible.
This is not a battle of wills, of ‘little man’ with just a slingshot looking to topple the behemoth of nature. Nature is our partner. We are one with it, part of all of it as it is part of all of us. And we are in a fight for our lives. Should we remain impervious to nature’s need for us to change our ways, no one, not nature, not humans, not sentient nor non-sentient beings who are all our co-inhabitants of this planet which gives us life will survive.
I spied a patch of golden leaves this morning. I want to tell them to turn back to green but cannot stop nature’s way.
I can stop getting in the way of nature’s calls for help. I can stop demanding nature keep giving me life and start honouring the life it gives me and the symbiotic nature of our relationship. And to do that, I must do more with less, create better with everything, and give to the earth and all its beings both the less and the best of me.
I can stop hoping someone else ‘fix it’ and start fixing what I have contributed to breaking.
Autumn leaves turning golden in July beneath a smoke laden sky reminded me this morning of my continued need to lessen my footprint, pay attention to each step I take upon this planet.
Autumn leaves are turning. And though it feels too soon, it is not too soon for us to change our ways. We’re already late.