Fall is in the Air

Ahh! The crisp feeling on a bright blue morning, I breathe in the dew-filled air. The canopy of trees is starting to show off some bold shades of color: orange,yellow and hints of red. The once full green boughs now gallantly wave their brilliant banners at the cooler, shorter days- perhaps showing that the challenge of survival has only brought out the best in them. I have worked hard in my garden all summer, but now things are winding down. I still have tall, spiny brussels sprouts, massive oblong pumpkins and dazzling shades of swiss chard. Only a few tomatoes remain, as well as the lingering red raspberries- most of which have already been turned into jam.  This is the time of year to sit back and enjoy all that has been accomplished. I also try to reflect on what mistakes I made (planting flowers in the wrong place because I thought they would be shorter) and what I can improve on for next season (adding more late-blooming varieties).

Do you notice how similar the cycle of the plants and trees is to real life? We must all go through times where we look at ourselves and assess what we have accomplished, what we regret or set new goals. Tomorrow is Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday for soul-searching, repentance and starting anew. My family does not observe this strictly, but we often spend the day hiking to the top of a mountain. The challenge of climbing over rocks and fallen sticks, ascending and descending only to have another ridge ahead, gives us time to clear our minds. By the time we reach the summit, we are exhausted. Our reward is the breath-taking views of the colorful valley below. This intense connection with nature helps us to find humility and a fresh perspective on life.

 Like the changing trees, we can adapt to whatever challenges life brings us. We can find a way to bring out the best in ourselves. We can forgive whatever wrongs have been done to us or turn a bad situation into a better one. And we can push ourselves to take just one more step towards our goal, even when it seems impossible. Sure, the trees eventually lose their leaves and go into a dormant stage; but even in the depths of winter, they have buds on their branches, just waiting to be kissed by the warmth of spring. We could learn to be patient and nurture our goals or principles if we took our cues from the trees.

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