The Beauty of Fall

I hear about it all the time. As the summer comes to an end the wind begins to dance with the eldest of the leaves, and donning their finest hues, the leaves in turn descend playfully to the ground below, blanketing the now yellowing grass with their lively colors, and reminding us of the transitory nature of our lives. How not only are we never truly done, but even in the waning of our lives we are still full of the rich experiences that have brought us to where we are, and if we only but take a cue from the leaves that dance with the wind, we can share the beauty of our own personal tapestries with the world around us.

And just as no words can ever truly hope to capture the experience of Fall, I recognize how shallow my own attempt at sharing the poignant emotions stirred when I read a passage written by one of my friends. It’s funny the things that inspire, and stranger still the result of such inspiration. She described a leaf, alone in the slowly fading light, it’s colors ranging from the bright yellows, to the crimson reds, resting at the cross section between stone and grass. With the hard rough concrete of her walk brushing the still vibrant green yard of her neighbors as the backdrop, the leaf inspired in her an awe that she was reluctant to taint by trying to capture it with the rudimentary tools available within her phone.

And while so enthralled by the whispered beauty of the leaf alone, as it shouted it’s colors into the night, she was made aware of the neighbors, coming out from their home to observe the young woman standing at the end of their drive. Here she paints the scene surrounding the island of beauty. You have a young woman holding a long forgotten cigarette, wavering ever so slightly as she stands at the end of the drive. Eyes decorated by a wash of dried tears and old makeup, she is raptly focused on what to them, is merely the ground at the edge of their yard.

I think what struck me the most in this story was not only the obvious blow to the heart such a sight brought her, but the candid manner in which she shared this excerpt from her life. She identifies herself as the ‘Crazy person of the day story’ in the lives of her neighbors, and sets this as a bar of experience to which we should all aspire, a notion I could not agree with more.

Now it wasn’t ‘just’ the feeling I got from that post that I wanted to share. It also got me thinking about… well… life. In particular, I realized ‘why’ I love excerpts like this as much as I do. It’s a glimpse at a world I will never see. I’ve written before about being colourblind, and even suggested way in which it may have affected my life. But when I’m talking to someone about it, and they express their sympathy, I wave it off with an expression along the lines of, “I haven’t ‘lost’ my ability to see color, I never had it, so it’s not like I’m ‘Missing’ something. ;P”. It occurs to me that this is why I’ve never felt the loss.

In much the same way that reading an adventure novel allows one the opportunity to explore dark forests of indeterminable age, with massive trunks that bear the weathering of years, underbrush that catches at the legs, and trips the unwary traveler, vines so long in the growing looping from tree to tree with no identifiable beginning nor end. In the same way you can almost hear the rustle of the wind through the boughs above, and the chatter of creatures that dance just beyond sight. The same influence that allows you to smell the once living husks of trees fallen in unknowable storms mixing with the verdant life of the forest today… This same power allows me to see the beauty of the world, the richness of life’s tapestry as if I truly could see the colors for myself. And is the reason that I’ve never really felt colourblind.

She agreed to allow me to reproduce the original post here attributed to her:

So I was walking back to my house after grabbing some food, kind of lost in thought. I saw a leaf on the sidewalk that was the most perfect fall leaf I think I have ever seen. It was school bus yellow at the tip and faded in blazing oranges and pinks into an almost painfully bright red shade and was nestled into some of the greenest grass in the neighborhood.
I stopped short and just stared at it. I considered taking a picture of it, but realized that this would make me that person who takes pictures of leaves on the sidewalk (hashtag nofilter). It was one of those moments that let me know instantly that to try to capture it would be to diminish it. A moment where making it important enough to try and keep shatters the illusion.
I must have stood there and looked at this leaf for at least 5 minutes, because when I came back to reality my cigarette had smoked most of itself without my assistance. Coming back to reality was done because a lady and her kid had come out of her house to see a vaguely disheveled, mildly hungover woman with smears of last night’s eye make up still clinging around faded tear tracks, standing mute and still just staring intently at the lawn from the end of their very short driveway.
Just not living life if you’re not somebody’s crazy-person-of-the-day story sometimes.
It was a really nice leaf.
It has been a trying couple of days.

Lauren Bartle

And link to the Original for those of you that can see it.