It’s happening. We watch for it each mid to late November. Our mulberry tree, which provides the most luxurious canopy of shade over our patio, in a matter of two days loses all its leaves! Just look at them surrounding her base, covering the furniture and lawn, a golden blanket, the last vestiges of autumn.
I wonder why it is that this tree hangs on so long? All the other trees in our yard, three giant walnuts, a few maples and another unknown species have long since lost their leaves. Is it as resistant to winter as I am? Does it hang on as long as it can, denying the reality of cold winds and gray days to come?
One thing I know about trees is that they only grow during a few short weeks of spring and summer. After that, they begin to prepare for the long winter, divesting themselves of their foliage, so that all their energy can focus on transforming the new spongy, soft green wood into solid timber.
This gives me hope and a little food for my imagination. As I prepare for winter—a winter like no other, where pandemic and cold weather clasp hands and clutch me in their isolating grip—I aspire to embrace this moment like my friend, our mulberry tree.
Today and tomorrow I will watch her as she loses it! All her leaves gone in two days of bidding farewell to autumn. She will remain, naked and solemn, bracing herself for the winter. On the outside, she may appear lifeless and dead. But on the inside, I know that good things are happening!
Can I accept this humbling season, letting go of what is, embracing what will be, hunkering down in the quiet, gray, dark days of winter? “Be brave,” I say to my soul. “Be brave.” Good things can happen when I’m willing to let go.