I was sitting on my front porch, and noticed the changing colors of the leaves. After yesterday’s rainfall, more leaves appeared on the ground, signifying with greater clarity the changing of the seasons. I always adore the beautiful color supplied by the autumn foliage. Yet with it, has always been a bit of melancholy, as I say goodbye to summer and its bestowing of leaves in great abundance that adorn the trees around me. Today, my outlook shifted.
I admire the way a tree gracefully transitions from one season to another. Always there, rooted to the ground, it welcomes the young fragile leaves in Spring just as it does the frigid barrenness of winter. In each season, it takes on a new look, a new identity, a new way of living. It doesn’t fuss with all the changes abound, but stands in its fullness, fully being with what it is in each season, in each moment. As it embraces the falling leaves of autumn, it bids goodbye to what it was in summer, all the while being exactly as it has always been, whatever its outer appearance.
It stands in receipt of the nourishment of the sun and rain. The same, it stands, as storms, howling winds and battering rain blow their way through. Even as branches fall, it stands. In fact, it renews, growing new branches where the old had been. It lives on, sustained.
Its metamorphosis, defined in the dictionary as “a profound change in form from one stage to the next in the life history of an organism”, is so common that we can easily overlook the significant changes it experiences every few months. And yet, the tree, the essence of what it really is, is always there. Evolving and yet at core, the same.
Whatever our walk of life, whatever stage of life, we are afforded the opportunity to take part in this amazing process of metamorphosis. To evolve our external selves, our ways of living, our ways of relating. Sometimes it’s exhilarating. Oftentimes, the moment preceding massive change can be terrifying, as we walk into the unknown. What will I become? How will I be received? Will I be accepted? Will I be safe? Will I be okay?
Sometimes, the most terrifying aspect of change arrives when we are ready to be at one with who we really are. When we dare to accept the grandness of who “I am” and actually live that truth. With years of a carefully crafted facing to match what we think “they” would find acceptable (or the same, rebelling against any norms or expectations), we shudder the thought to be exactly who we are. How do I live unprotected? It is a question of our deepest need for security. But perhaps, we can be open to the thought that being who we are, connected to the core of our being, is actually the safest place to be. But it is an unknown. The question is, are we willing to metamorphosize to become truly aligned, inside and out? To welcome the opportunity to live and breath with freedom?
Perhaps like the tree, we evolve in our lives, because we must, if we are to live fully. We have the opportunity to embrace each phase of who we are. Be grateful for and bid adieu to the past from which we depart to step into a new phase of life. And as we grow into who we really are, metamorphosizing from season to season, we may recognize with greater clarity that our true essence, our uniqueness of being, is always there, standing tall, welcoming us back, like the seasoned, weathered and ever more grand tree.