March is here and, if you live in tropical countries like the Philippines, you could already feel the infernal heat of a summer. When I say infernal heat, I mean exactly that, but no, I’m only exaggerating it actually. But the fact that it’s always hot here all year round, the heat that a tropical summer generates would be extremely difficult for people coming from cold countries to endure. Surprisingly, foreigners who came to adapt to the local weather appeared to be really enjoying it.
So this was where this dried leaf topic started. Yesterday morning, when I accompanied my son to our backyard where the towering fruit trees were and chickens roam, I noticed how our backyard was littered with falling leaves. Most of the leaves were already dried, brown-colored or rusty.
This may be the adverse effect of the drought called El Nino, I thought. And then there’s what they call global warming which was something to worry about, as well. But then, I know, for leaves to fall off trees is a natural thing. It just happened naturally and you can’t do something about it.
In the Philippines, extremely hot weather is often the cause for trees shedding their leaves. Unlike in the colder regions where trees shed leaves in autumn and winter. One thing is common though, trees shed leaves in preparation for something worse to come.
It was when I started raking the leaves with a hard broomstick that my three-year-old son Nathaniel called up to me. “Papa Nap, look, heart,” he said as he held in his hands a heart-shaped, dried leaf. “Oh that was beautiful,” I said.
I took the heart-shaped, brown-colored, dried leaf and carefully placed it upon the stony ground. “Time to photograph it, son,” I said as I shot a smile at him. He smiled back. There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing my son’s happy face at that.
Indeed, there are lots of good things you could get from nature if you’re only attentive enough to pay close attention to details. This heart-shaped, dried leaf has a secret message to me: that it’s beautiful to grow old when the fullness of light and color are for the last days. My son helped me discovered it.
Each one of us should mature into what our true beauty resembles. And no matter what color of life you were having, in the end, when you learn to let go gracefully, you will find beauty, joy, and peace.
But did it ever cross your mind, even once, thinking how and why do leaves fall off trees? I’m bringing up this topic to your awareness because there’s something I want you to know with what I found out on the matter. Sure, science has a better, acceptable explanation for that. But the other, much deeper reason really interests me the most.
Leaves falling off a tree and blown away by the wind may seem an ordinary scene to most people that they barely noticed it happening. But I am one of those who would like to see this naturally-occurring thing in a different light. I hope this sonnet I had just finished writing could shed some light on the path you’re treading:
And this life is like a heart-shaped, dried leaf
That fell off the twig of an unknown tree.
Blown by the wind to everywhere but, if
With luck falls on the ground not far away,
As someone sees it, gives a wondrous glow.
Even if it lands on a stony ground
And yet, for those who really want to know,
A truly beautiful thing could be found.
Not with mere a superficial seeing
Though. There’s more to what the vision must
Aim with a focused sight: it was keeping
What could nourish the soul; not for what lust
Demands. When a tree starts to lose its leaves
For colder, dark times ahead: it survives.