Letting the Leaves Fall

The leaves are finally changing color here in Georgia, and it’s so unbelievably beautiful. Sometimes when I’m driving I’ll stop mid sentence and point out a particularly pretty tree — they look like they’ve been painted, like they’re not even real — with the greens turning to gold, amber, and fiery reds. If I can ignore the traffic (and sometimes the road rage that ensues– it is Atlanta after all!), the gorgeous trees makes the commute anywhere around the city so much more enjoyable.

There is a huge tree outside of my home (oak maybe?), and the leaves have all turned the prettiest shades of burgundy and maroon — every morning more have fallen, and they liter the ground and adorn my car like freshly fallen snow. 

We often hear that it’s ‘basic’ to enjoy this time of year — a sort of slur that insinuates anything universally enjoyed by women is diminished, the patriarchal influence that it is somehow less meaningful. Regardless, fall has always been my favorite season. It makes me nostalgic for school and growing up, football games and fun with friends, reminiscing about different times in my life and how things have changed (or how they haven’t), movies like When Harry Met Sally and their cable knit sweaters, and bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils from Joe Fox.

There is a poem by Mary Oliver, ‘Song for Autumn’, where she talks about the leaves dreaming of how comfortable it will be to touch the ground — an interesting way to subvert our point of view from the sadness of the season ending and focus on the joy to be found in the transition. 

And we’re always in transition, really, shifting from one phase of life to another, a little bittersweet and beautiful. I read somewhere that during autumn we should let our own dead leaves fall — to let go of what’s not serving us, and to shake off what we no longer need. 

I like that idea — to let the leaves scattered across my car in the mornings help remind me to reflect — what are things that I do or think that aren’t serving me, and what can I let go of? Perfection, control? This month I’m trying to release what’s holding me back, which for me is often fear. Fear that I’ll fail at something important to me, or that I’ll be truly seen for who I am and rejected. But I want to live a big, juicy life, and I can’t do that fully if I’m always afraid of what people will think of me. So this year I’m saying ‘f*ck it’ to fear, I’m letting the leaves fall, and I’m going to dream about how comfortable it will be for them to touch the ground. 

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