In northern Minnesota, I am surrounded by trees and water, but I never take time to breathe it all in. When wandering out into the school forest on a brisk Wednesday morning, nature was not on my mind. My thoughts were consumed by excitement of the fact that I didn't have class all morning! As I strayed further from the group of students, I looked into the forest and the trees suddenly transformed into a crowd of people. Each tree suddenly had a great story to tell and each of its leaves had something to say.
I walked down the overgrown trail, and soon I finally reached the water. I looked across the empty lake and felt a serene calmness flood over me. The lake was a deep blue with hints of white from the glare of the sun. I remember, being disrupted by the stutter of a squirrel. Its chirp was progressively getting louder like it wanted to tell the world something important. I looked up into the nearby tree, but instead of seeing a squirrel, I saw another story.
Up in the trees, I saw a canopy of brilliant colors. As I watched them fall, I kept thinking of the song “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas. As each second passed, I watched the dozens of leaves be set free into the wind, taken to a place beyond the skies. The vibrant colors of red, orange, and yellow dowsed the hundreds of leaves in color. I imagined the leaves circling me, forcing my hair onto my face. As I watched the leaves dance with the wind onto the lake, I dreamt I could dance along beside them. Most the leaves above were still a brilliant green like the color of a patiently awaited green light at an intersection. The leaves below my feet told a different story. Some were still bright fall colors but others were dead and dried up. The sight I was most interested in was not the leaves or the trees, it was the story of the leaves falling from the trees.
Above my head were millions of changing leaves and beside my feet were millions of fallen changing leaves. The difference between them is the time at which they chose to let go. The “fall” is what fall is all about. It’s the point in time where the leaf separates itself from the tree, drifts in the breeze and settles onto the ground. The leaves change colors, fall, then grow back onto the trees. Every year the same cycle and the same brilliance. The story of the “fall” and the story of life go hand in hand.
We change, we fall, we get back up. Repeat.
In this moment of time, I’m preparing myself to get back up. Many things have changed this year which led to my fall, but situations can always get better. Over time, people change, feelings shift, and emotions become scattered. I had been dating my best friend for over a year and all of a sudden, I lost him. To me, our relationship was practically perfect. I loved getting to know him more and more every day. His laugh and his smile always put me into a good mood and his huge heart for helping people encouraged me to do the same. In the beginning of senior year, we started talking about our plans after high school. We had never discussed it much before. We talked about who we want to be in college. Do we want to party a lot? Do we want to take our relationship to the next step? Do we eventually want to come back to our hometown to settle down?
Our answers were very different.
We wanted different things in the future and our morals were not the same. Neither of us were willing to sacrifice that much for one another considering we were both so young. Just knowing that we may not be together next year, in college, put a huge strain on the relationship. I was terrified of losing him, but what if staying together meant losing myself? We both asked ourselves, “What is the point of being together, when we know it may not be forever?”
With that, we ended it.
I not only lost my best friend, but the first person I fell in love with, the person who knew all my secrets, and the only person in this world I have ever been myself around. Over time we slowly became different people and our colors started to contrast. Just like the world. Every day, the world and the people in it constantly change colors. Autumn brings new colors and brisk winds to the season like how the world brings new challenges and great blessings into life when we least expect it.
After a great fall, we are given the opportunity to start over and grow into someone we’re proud to be. It's a chance to get a fresh start and focus on new adventures. I’ve learned to trust in God and his plan for me, and with that in mind I know I’ll be just fine. I strive to pursue greater things beyond this world than thrive in my future reality. Like leaves on a tree, they change and fall but over time the tree is remade, just like we too can be remade. When spring rolls around, the leaves are painted with thousands of shades of green and the fallen leaves below have been transformed into grass the color of a green light at an intersection. The tree is remade. A new chapter begins.