When time allows, I take a walk through the nature trail on campus during my lunch. It's my little piece of solitude and silence in the chaos of my daily life. Lately, everyone has been posting pictures of the beauty that is fall (I'm included). I'm sure you've seen the viral post with the quote, "The trees are about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go." I'm a big tree hippie. I have the tree in our backyard tattooed on my back, and I've always found their resilience and annual transformation to resonate with my own life. Today, I realized trees might carry an even deeper metaphor. Most of these posts on social media show a collection of trees, and together, they are awe-inducing.
Together, they are full of a variety of brilliant colors because they are all changing at their own pace. I like to find new views when I'm out on the trail because I think perspective is an underappreciated element of all of our lives. So today, I stepped off the trail, and I looked at the trees from a panoramic perspective (see the image above). As I returned back to the trail, I realized that the individual trees weren't nearly as beautiful as this panoramic view.
This guy here is even hard to see because he's so sparse. He is thin and appears frail. He has a few leaves left, and those leaves are full of holes from bugs and disease (maybe? I'm not a horticulturist, so don't hold me to that). I started to think about the trees and how they're so similar to humanity. Individually, some of us are sparse. Some of us are at a season in our lives where we aren't nearly as vibrant as we've been in the past. We might be sick, we might be tired, we might have been beautiful yesterday. But, our leaves have fallen, and alone, we look so sad. Some of us are at a season like the tree behind this little guy. We are vibrant. We look healthy. It is easy for those around us to appreciate who we are because of our beauty.
Even though each tree is at a different part of their annual transformation, together, they create a beautiful sight. I think humanity is the same. We have value as individuals, and each individual will go through seasons of lush brilliance, and seasons of death, and seasons of disease, and seasons of renewal. However, collectively, we can be quite a sight of beauty when we allow ourselves to be one despite being in different seasons of evolution.
This has nothing to do with my larger work. I was just working through a complex metaphor, and I find comfort in sharing it with you.
Keep fighting the good fight!