Falling Gifts

Fall trees work cooperatively to lay down carpets of richest gold, yellow, red and orange.  

We humans, however, jealously guard the vestiges of our previous carpets of green, heedlessly and wantonly destroying the new carpets – tearing them apart, pulling pieces away, and thrusting them into bags.

The metaphor isn’t just the carpet.  We seem to be much more comfortable with looking forward and looking back.  Our inability to live in nature’s moment is symbolic of our obsession with “better.”  Looking around, our memories on the past and our hopes for the future filter our vision, leaving us doubting if our now is what we want it to be.   Obsessed with “what could be, ” we overlook the beauty of “what is.”

It is not just about stopping to smell the roses – though we should.  It’s about remembering, or perhaps even re-gaining, the innocence of our youth.

The innocence of young children and pets (pardon, please, the comparison) makes watching them enjoyable.  Ever see a baby notice a ceiling fan for the first time and do a double take?  I remember my great nephew running towards a ball when he was barely bipedal.  It took several falls and several get-ups, but he went full speed ahead to find the object of his attention.  His pure, simple joy of discovery was moving.

This time of year, I especially like to remember my neighbor’s dog, Shade, when he was young.   He faced each day with enthusiasm.  As the rest of us trudged out to the bus stop each morning,  Shade would be on the lookout for whatever gifts nature had bestowed.  If he looked up and saw a leaf riding down on a breeze, he would go ecstatic chasing it down.  He would be pure joy on four legs, as if to say,  “A leaf!  For Me!  Direct from Heaven!  Who would have thought?”

Shade is now an elder in the neighborhood, looking down his nose at the shenanigans of younger dogs.  Knowing he taught us dumb humans a thing or two bolsters his confidence in his status.

Now when I see a colorful leaf, floating down on a breeze or hanging from a tree above, I remember.  They are gifts for me, directly from heaven.

© Laura Hedgecock 2012

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