Is there something in nature that you have a spiritual kinship to? Something that when you gaze upon it, it seems to connect to your soul? Something that brings a sense of calm, a sense of inner peace, a sense that you have an unexplainable, but deeply rooted, connection to it?
For me, I have discovered over the last several years, that I have a strong connection to trees. I love them so much, that I have a wall of art dedicated to trees in our dining room.
I love them so much, I have a timer set on my phone to take a picture of the view of the valley of trees every day, so I can capture the progression of fall.
I love them so much that I can lost in the view of a single tree, or a forest of trees, for hours and it doesn’t seem like any time has gone by at all.
To be specific though it’s not all trees that I adore. To be precise, I prefer deciduous trees. Maple, to be even more exact. (Shout out to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Clark, for teaching me the difference between deciduous and coniferous!)
I love every aspect about a glorious maple tree. It is amazing to me that a maple tree has the gift of being able to be dormant and bare and vulnerable for months and then with a bit of nurturing and light, it bursts with new growth every spring. Then, with a little more light and rain, those leaves and branches flourish, until they have stretched to their limits for the season. Finally, they are given the gift to enjoy the sun and the wind and the rain.
But that’s not the end. Then there is autumn. During autumn, the maple tree gets to do some regrouping. It gets to slow down. It allows the chlorophyll that has been in charge of its wardrobe for five or six month to go into summer storage and let the fall wardrobe out. For it’s the fall colors that are the leaf’s true colors.
I’m going to repeat that. A leaf’s true color is the shade of yellow, or orange, or crimson that it turns to in the fall. (Virtual high-five if Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” popped into your head as you read that.)
Isn’t that amazing? Think about how every spring a leaf is born, and grows, and becomes strong, but it is not necessarily its true self. What’s true about the leaf is what happens after the growth. After the busy-ness of the long days of sunshine, the leaves get a chance to catch their breath. The leaves get to slow down and take a look at what is underneath.
And that is one of the reasons why I love trees so much. Their leaves’ yearly transformation speaks to me.
What lies beneath my chlorophyll coat of green? What do I want to uncover as my true color? Not the green coat that matches every body else. Not the coat that says I am Super Woman, even though I have the unrealistic expectation for myself that I have to be. Not the coat that is shoved in my face by advertising and Facebook and Pinterest and anything else that says this is how you can be all.
Because I can’t. I can’t be all. Some days, I can’t be anything. Some days I can only be. That’s it. The only color I can be is mine. Not Facebook’s. Not Pinterest’s. Not Instagram’s. Not anything I see on TV.
Just my own true, beautiful, vibrant, one-of-a-kind, Crayola-doesn’t-even-have-a-name-for-this-crayon, color. The color that God and Mother Nature and the Universe gave me naturally and, more importantly, the color I allow myself to show. After the growing season. After the stretching towards the sun. After the rain and wind. After the light and the harshness of heat. What is left is my true color.
And that color, is my favorite color.
But don’t just take my word for it. Let Cyndi ‘splain it to you too…