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Rated: 13+ · Essay · Nature · #1802669
Lessons From the Leaves on the Eastern Trail in Maine
Sitting on my desk is a pile of leaves I picked up on my walk along Maine's Eastern Trail.  I had intended to use them for a project I'm working on, but upon closer examination, I see that each leaf has a story to tell; and each one triggers one of my own.

The first leaf I'll call the "Christmas leaf".  Mostly green with shades of red, it is perhaps trying to rush the season much as I did during my childhood.  Halloween hadn't yet arrived and already I had my wish list from the Sears catalog.  Today I no longer rush the seasons.  Having the luxury of retirement, I am free to spend my days taking long walks along the Eastern trail or on the beach.  I sometimes sit for hours just observing my surroundings.  I will frame this leaf to remind myself of how lucky I am to have the time to appreciate each season of the year in its own time.

And then there's the "second chance leaf".  It's red and gold with dark red veins.  They seem to be reaching out, trying to convey something important--something it wants to share.  But it's curled up as though holding back somehow.  Could it be as shy as I was?  So much I wanted to say, so many important things I wanted to share.  I'm glad I picked up this leaf.  I'm glad to be able to give it the opportunity to be heard and the chance to tell its story.

Ah, and then the fiery red leaf.  It's the "notice me leaf."  It's quite large and very prominent.  Upon closer examination, it has little pin holes running through it.  Must have had some scars in its short life.  Yet it still has the courage to shine through and stand up and be noticed. I think about all the little pin holes in my life and the courage I had to pull myself back up.  Having lived through three fires, the death of my father, the death of my husband, and a move to a new state to begin my life over, like this fiery red leaf, I stand tall, ready for the next challenge.

There's also a speckled leaf.  It's a little softer than the others.  This is the "abundance leaf".  It reminds me of all the people I have in my life. I'm fortunate to have a very full and rich life complete with opportunities to learn and also to reach out and help others.

And the yellow leaf with the red peak.  This is the "acceptance leaf".  It has a hole in the middle and not afraid to show its imperfections.  I look at this leaf and I think of all the people who have helped me accept myself through the years.  Especially, my friend Linda.  Linda and I talked every day.  We talked about gratitude and how we understood that some things happen before other things were able to happen.  And that sometimes God uses us in other people's lives.  My relationship with Linda was based on unconditional love, understanding and respect.  One year when I came back from vacation, there was a note on my door to call a mutual friend.  "Linda," she said, "was in the hospital".  Three days earlier she had had a cerebral hemorrhage and was in a coma.  As I sat by her bedside, I remembered our last conversation.  She was helping me with a problem and her last words to me were, "It's OK to cry".  How ironic.  Linda died the following morning at the age of 32.  I am so grateful to have had her in my life because she accepted me just as I am.

And so it is with the leaves on my desk.  Together they look like a Fall day.  Separately, they look like my life.

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