The year the leaves didn’t change color
It was the fall of 1990. A cold, crisp morning and I was headed out the door before the sun was up. A clarinet case in my one hand and a school bag slung across my back. Another concert band practice this morning. If I hurried, I could catch the early bus in time and avoid the 30 minute walk to school.
Gazing down the busy road, I was relieved to see wide-set headlights and the white-ish glow from the city bus. I could use the break from a long walk. Climbing up the steps of the bus, I flashed the driver my pass and slumped in the nearest seat.
It would be a long day. Student council meeting at lunch and yearbook meeting after school. My mother was worried that I took too much on. I was also involved in church activities, in addition to taking violin lessons and a dozen other projects as they came up. But I liked to be busy and so did my friends. We liked involvement and getting things done. I’d be fine.
I rested my head against the large, cool window. Shafts of light spread out from the rising sun between the houses and buildings lining the road. I smiled. Autumn was such a beautiful time of year.
I turned my gaze upward to admire the trees. Instead seeing gorgeous golds and reds, I found nothing but bare trees!
Pressing my hands up against the window, I looked up and down the street. I couldn’t be! Turning my head, I strained to see the trees on the other side of the street. The exact same thing. The rising sun created long eerie shadows of tree limbs stripped of their foliage, like a scene from a scary movie.
How did I completely miss the leaves changing colors…and then falling from the trees? Could it be possible that I was so busy that I didn’t even notice the change in the environment around me?
Autumn was my favourite season. Leaves changing colors was a highlight of the year. That majestic burst of color in the fall was like Nature’s last kiss before hibernating for the winter. And I missed it. It would be an entire year before I could witness the beauty of fall.
I was filled with a profound sadness for what I lost out on that year. What else had I missed?
As I got off at school, my sadness was soon eased by a grateful heart. Grateful that I
had experienced this lesson now, at 17 years old. How many people would go through life missing the changing leaves and not realize the lesson until it was too late? I promised myself that I would never let that happen again.
When fall approaches, I watch those trees and remember that lesson I learned in so many years ago.