Saturday, October 16, 2010


1. one of the expanded, usually green organs borne by the stem of a plant.
4. leaves collectively; foliage.

On a recent walk, A shared a fact that was new to me: When leaves change colors in the fall, the color they become is the color they really are.  When we see them all the same color (green), it's because of chlorophyll, not because that's their true color.  I gasped when she told me this.  How beautiful!  I have no idea whether this is scientifically accurate or not, but I'm going with it, if only because it's a great metaphor for life.

When I wrote in the early days of 2010 that this year's word would be change, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to.  There has been change aplenty and I see no signs that this is drawing to a close.  On the contrary, I feel like I am one of those leaves, about to be stripped of my chlorophyll.  Sounds glorious and maybe even a tad romantic, doesn't it?  Maybe, but it doesn't feel that way.  I know how to be a green leaf, one that blends in with all of the other leaves nearby.  I don't know how to be a bold gold leaf, a flaming burgundy one, a leaf being what it was made to be, not just what was required of it to blend in.

When  A told me about leaves and their real colors, I told her that's how people are, too - not just me, but all of us.  Sin is our chlorophyll and it masks who we're created to be.  It makes us all blend in with each other, unable to see one face from another, one gift from another.  I've always loved fall - for its beauty and for all that it heralds: cooler weather, the arrival of Thanksgiving and the way that holiday prepares our hearts for Advent.  Now, I'll have another thing to love - with fear and trembling - about autumn: how it reminds us all of the call to shed our masks like chlorophyll and boldly live as changed people.

All Photos: Fall Leaves at Shelby Park


EJN said...

The changing of the leaves is one of my favorite times of year, it is so beautiful. I love the metaphor, thanks for planting the seed.

RBM said...

I think I learned this fact as a child, and I have always treasured it. I have usually focused on the aspect that the brillant true colors are only revealed at the end of leaves' life-cycle. It reminds me that life is a journey, and our most glorious selves will not be revealed until the end, as we go peacefully to God. I love your metaphor as well.

WordGirl said...

RBM I love this idea of our mature selves being the ones we were meant to be all along. It probably takes that long to divest ourselves of all the "chloropyll" we take on as a part of our daily lives.