There are things I ought to have learned in science class, but I was too busy hankering for art class to pay much attention. Did you know that the reason the autumn leaves are so spectacular in the northeast is because the weather has an indecisive air to it? It’s true. One night it’s cold enough to frost and the next day it’s warm enough to kayak in a tshirt. In the mountains the reds and oranges are deep and rich, and in the valley fields the green is vibrant and lush. The sky is almost always a steel blue, nearly grey, but still clear. I cannot describe this well enough, I know. I’m sure I tend to romanticize it because I tend to romanticize everything. It makes for a better story, see?
But trust me: it is beautiful here. Even today, while it rains steadily outside the side porch where I complete my wedding tasks of the day, it is beautiful (of course it helps that my wedding tasks for the day were to take buckets of flowers and make them into eleven presentable bouquets).
Tonight I’m going to leave these bouquets of roses and hydrangeas, seeded eucalyptus and ranunculus here on the porch. Outside, where temperatures will probably dip into the forties. I’ll leave them here. And for the same reason that the leaves get more and more spectacular, I have no fear for these flowers.
It goes against my gut to do this, leave them outside. Because flowers bloom in the warmest months, I assume that that’s where they’ll thrive best. But a year in Texas is teaching me that while the heat may force a bloom to open, it does little to sustain it.
We all need a little indecisive air, a bit of a chill, to be sustained.
I had a conversation with a friend the other day and she’s asking the right questions: why does it have to be so hard sometimes? Why does it have to hurt?
I don’t have answers for her. I’m finding the more I know, the less I really know.
But I know this: those leaves wouldn’t take our breath away if they weren’t dying in the process.
And I don’t like that. That makes me uncomfortable. I hate death, it is nothing but stings and barbs. But I love life because it is nothing but newness and cycles.
I love life because I know that I will die a million deaths until that final one, but each one makes me a little more vibrant in the process, and each one brings the promise of newness. That’s something I can plant my soul in.
This post was originally posted in October, 2011. But in honor of peak week at home, I'm posting it again. Enjoy your leaves northern friends!