Beauty, Renewal, and Simplicity

The fall semester is flying by, and the hours of the day are getting shorter. It seems that some of us are oblivious to the beauty of the season that surrounds us. On the paths, students power-walk to various places, send texts, update newsfeeds, chat with friends, or jam out to music. As we quickly move from one place to another, the leaves are changing colors and slowly releasing from tree branches to float graciously to the ground.

The motion of leaves falling to the ground reminds me that God is in control of all situations and supplies certain people in one’s life at a particular time. One day, I took a moment to pause as I walked into Wayne: there was a beautiful tree with lush candy-apple red, sunset orange, and lemon colored leaves. As I watched the colorful leaves fall to the ground, I started to ponder the way God directs our steps and places people in our lives at the right time. Sometimes I have felt led to follow one path or befriend someone that did not make logical sense at the moment, but later I realized how that decision or person connected to a life lesson. Often we worry over the next step in our lives in a way that is unnecessary. Instead of worrying, we should be able to trust God to order our steps, just as the wind directs the leaves.

The falling leaves are also a reminder to slow down, unplug, and temporarily step away from people in order to be present with nature and to practice self-care. The other day, I left the Dining Commons by the exit that overlooks the pond near Doane Hall, and I stopped in awe at the brownish-red cinnamon, pumpkin, and squash colored leaves from beanstalk trees that were heightened by the sunset with a ray of tangerine orange and flamingo pink. I was able to note the various shapes and colors as well the place in which the leaves fell to the ground. As the wind took the leaves on a smooth small journey to the ground, the beauty of the moment made me recall why is it important to take time to enjoy the little things and not rush through life. As I gazed at the golden sun, my mind was free of worry and I realized that autumn can symbolize the renewal of the mind and the body as  nature releases the old, allowing new leaves and plants to grow in the upcoming spring season.

Sometimes the simplest things contain the most meaning. Imagine if the leaves didn’t change color and fall off trees: the season wouldn’t be as beautiful without the lushly colored leaves, and the trees wouldn’t be protected during the winter without autumn’s fallen leaves to shield them from the chilly dry air. Everything has reason and purpose, even something as simple as leaves changing color and descending from trees.

The act of appreciating nature is a small thing that’s often taken for granted. Though the days seem to go so fast that they all blend together, try to pause and take note of this beautiful season. Allow the shedding leaves to wash over your anxiety about courses, relationships, and family. Put away distractions and take a walk around campus or into Wayne to revive your appreciation for the simplicities through nature. Remember that just as the leaves are placed on the ground according to the blowing wind, our situations and loved ones are ordered in our lives according to God’s will either as a blessing or lesson.

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