Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lesson from a Leaf

By Brenda Black

We were looking over the cattle herd the other day, sizing up potential heifers and calculating returns on steers that would soon make the trip to town. Satisfied with the tour, it was time to head home. But before we left the pasture, I snagged a dozen giant Sycamore leaves splashed in fall glory of blaze orange, yellow and red. In that brief moment of gathering nature's free souvenirs, I was six again – romping through the timber, collecting acorns, leaves and late summer flowers that refused to give up with the change of seasons.

Once home, I arranged my autumn harvest in a pretty glass bowl and placed them center stage on a table. When my husband asked what I was doing, I said, “I'm being a little girl again and reliving my childhood.”

The smell of wet soil, the sound of crunching leaves and twigs, the easy view of a red, fluffy tailed squirrel against grey bark are wonders in the autumn woods. They never grow old or lose their charm. Even if I am not that wide-eyed child any longer, I am thankful that a sense of wonder lingers decades after those first fascinating impressions were discovered. This adult life is filled with complexities and chaos and there's just something about a walk in the woods that brings calm and reminders of a care-free, simpler time. Getting back to the basics never did a body harm.

In our advanced culture filled with gadgets and unending demands on our time and attention, sometimes we just need to pull back, unplug and go for a walk in the woods. Take a lesson from this late-in-the-year season. There is a time for everything and at times, time needs to slow its pace and we just need to float like a leaf on the breeze for a few minutes.

God didn't paint a gorgeous October to be ignored. He didn't carve beautiful, trickling streams to step over, then not notice the smooth stones shimmering beneath the surface. The pleasure is worthy of pause. And this is just a rehearsal!

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelations 22:1-5)

If I am mesmerized by a dead leaf plucked from withering grasses, I can't begin to fathom how overwhelmed I'll be standing beneath a tree so large that a river runs through it; that river so crystal clear that it reflects a perfect city. And standing there with me, the Lamb of Glory, who not only understands my childish ways, He laughs with me and longs for me to come to Him with such childlike abandon. In heaven, I'll be a little girl again!

It's amazing what a few leaves made me think. The simple notion of a leaf loosed from its branch launched my mind down a wandering path of times loved and fondly remembered, providing lessons for today and hope for tomorrow. The basic principle: The golden carpet of a woodland floor is only possible when the leaves let go. Some of life's most precious times are going to be missed if we don't allow ourselves to just float into the moment. And the most important walk in the woods we'll ever take is yet to come. Until then, I pray I never lose my childlike faith.

The Word's Out copyright 2013

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