By Brooke Maffia Wang
As I drive down our street my eyes catch the lemon colored leaves about to fall. Each November I’m stopped in my tracks when the otherwise drab pavement is transformed into a captivating canvas. The breathtaking blanket of color awakens something in me.
Is it because the leaves are most beautiful for a short time at the end of their life? Or, that such a welcome mess is made by them? Or, is it a centering reminder that change is my only constant, and I’m not alone? Even the earth is feeling it. Or, maybe, it is the sense of awe that washes over me, invites me to linger, drops the tension in my shoulders and allows me to exhale?
As I approach the new year, I find myself uninterested in New Year’s resolution, but wondering about the structures that hold me, us. Like the branches that are left after the colorful finale. The stark beauty hints of what has been, and what is to come. Naked and unashamed its structure is reveled.
I’ve always been drawn to the beauty of barren trees. Years ago, newly married with our backpacks we took an unplanned stop in Lucca, Italy. A walled city where these trees (photo above) sit a top a thick wall. I can still feel the release of my shoulders, the sinking of my chest and curl upward of my lips as I remember being there. What was true then, is true now. The structures that hold us matter.
As you walk into this new year or when you notice the leaves fall off your tree:
One of the branches on the tree of my life is the practice of receiving spiritual direction*. A monthly meeting with a skilled listener who gently and compassionately helps me discern the voice of the Holy in my life. This year marks 20 years I’ve given myself to this practice. I stay with it, not because it is easy, but because it continues to offer me something of beauty. Similar to the lemon colored blanket on the pavement each November. As you enter this new year, may you find yourself held and known as you walk toward what has never been before.
*If you’re curious about this practice you can find more info here.