I think many people find the early fall an especially busy time. We start running the day after Labour Day and the wheel we're on just seems to keep spinning faster and faster as the weeks go by and we always find more that needs to be done. How quickly we forget what summer taught us about how good it feels to just relax sometimes. But fall has her own lessons, if we care to listen to them; her trees are filled with leaves of breathtaking colour that call to our hearts to stop and notice, even when our minds want to tell us to keep our heads down and plow ahead.
Today I listened to the leaves. When a sunny Saturday morning lay before me with no scheduled activities, I chose not to fill it with items I could check off my to-do list; instead I gathered up my three guys and we headed to a favourite local trail that meanders through some woods by the river. After the first ten minutes or so (during which Will, who was not sure he liked my plan, complained about being tired and itchy and unimpressed), everyone grew quiet. We spent an hour and a half on that trail, soaking up the morning sun and the glorious reds and oranges and yellows that glowed happily from the trees. We noticed birds of all kinds, sniffed cheerful yellow snapdragons, and watched dozens of large, fuzzy brown and black caterpillars inch across our path. (We also learned, when Will let one of these caterpillars crawl across his finger, that they bite!) Our lungs filled with fresh air, and the beautiful landscape filled our hearts with peace and joy.
I wonder why we so often forget how simple it is to find this quiet happiness, even in the middle of our busiest seasons. I'm grateful for the beautiful leaves and their reminder that in nurturing the parts of ourselves that crave calm and meaningful reflection, we reveal our own most vibrant and lovely colours.