The leaves are blazing, saying “look at me.” And we do. We linger a little longer taking in the sights of our own neighborhoods and communities, and across the land we envision fall foliage tours to experience the awe-inspiring beauty. We use words like “glorious, breathtaking, majestic, spectacular, magnificent.” We oh and ah like we are admiring 4th of July fireworks. Fall is a delightful time indeed.
Then the leaves fall to the ground, but that’s not the end of the gift they provide. We enjoy them still. We rake them up into large piles to run and jump in. Did you ever have a leaf “fight” as a kid? Even at my “advanced age,” when out for a walk, I purposely stomp and crunch through the leaves.
I sometimes pick up leaves that aren’t too dried out yet. Stroking the soft leather-like feel and astonishing over the intensity of the color quiets calms me. I like to have a single leaf on my desk as if it were a single rose or some other flower that we adore for its beauty.
When my firstborn went away to college in Arizona, I would send him leaves from Northern Illinois. I proclaim that I will never live in a climate that does not have Fall. Many people, as me, deem Autumn their favorite season. The temperatures are generally a little cooler, humidity and bugs decrease, and we marvel over the bright blue skies and eye-popping trees.
Then November hits and folks’ enthusiasm goes as dormant as the trees. I challenge you to find an uplifting quote about the month of November (besides the Thanksgiving holiday). It’s not easy. Dull and dark, bleak and bare are the words I see most and the poets go melancholy.
A barren realm of withered fields,
Bleak woods, and falling leaves,
The palest morns that ever dawned;
The dreariest of eves.
It is no wonder that she comes,
Poor month! with tears of pain;
For what can one so hopeless do
But weep, and weep again.
~R.H. Stoddard, “November”
November does not have to be dreary and certainly not hopeless. Falling leaves and bare trees are as beautiful as new buds in Spring.
The word BARE simply means not covered or unclothed. When you get to know someone as your lover, seeing them not covered is the ultimate show of intimacy and tenderness. Touching bare skin, be it an adult or a newborn, is a gesture of closeness, affection, and love. If I bare my soul to you, I trust you will hold my heart with gentle care.
Let’s see our November world, unadorned, and still see the beauty. If my husband only loved me with clothes and makeup on, I would not feel cherished. If our yards, trees, and environment only matter to us when they are “pretty” that statement says more about us than what we are looking at.
Notice the color of the sky in November. Give the evergreens their share of attention and study the bare maze of branches of leafless trees. We don’t have to wait until a different month or season to see beauty. It’s there. Look. You’ll see.
Even when the leaves no longer blaze, the trees still say look at me. If perhaps seemingly solemn, they’re still impressive and dignified. They simply long for someone to see them as beautiful, even when they’re bare.