The morning after I received the news that my father committed suicide, I went out to run errands to be ready to travel home for the funeral and it was as though the world I was living in had transformed from black and white to full, vibrant color. I recall stopping on my steps because I was struck by the intense green of the leaves and deep blue of the sky. It was an overwhelming contrast to the haze of grief I felt. Such a massive loss brought me jarringly into the present and gave me the opportunity to see the world again through a very different lens.
This fall I was reminded of this when I made the decision to just walk in the mornings without listening to podcasts or music. As a result I’ve stopped on the sidewalk many a morning while the dog pulls to get to the next spot to sniff, to just breathe and watch the sun appear on the horizon as a giant orange ball, casting its pinkish glow. With each street the color will change from pink to orange to deep lavender until the brilliantly blue sky appears. I’ve also found that almost every day I see a cardinal, my favorite bird. A bird that is said to be the sign of support and love from a loved one that has passed.
In the the past two weeks the leaves on the trees in our neighborhood have shifted from green to yellows, oranges and reds. There is one tree in particular that I love. It is a stately maple, the perfect tree for climbing really, in our neighbor’s yard. We stand across from it each morning as we wait for the bus to pick my daughter up.
Watching the tree change from green to yellow and finally orange, I was reminded of my experience standing on my front steps fifteen years ago. Just as they did before, the colors I see outside appear more vivid; as though mother nature lit New England on fire.
The opportunity to see things again is one we can easily take for granted as we go about our days never really noticing the world around us. It took great loss for me to be brought to the present to the beauty of the world. However, the ability to be present is available to all of us, and I, for one, am so grateful I stopped to notice the beauty of nature this fall. Seeing a cardinal never fails to bring a smile to my face as I remember my dad. The leaves have moved past their peak now and are turning rust color as they fall to the ground. We’ll have a long winter of looking at bare tree limbs before mother nature graces us again with the vibrant greens of spring leaves. I know I’ll be watching for them, will you? #30daysgrateful