It’s October and the trees are beginning to change colors to brilliant reds, yellows and orange. It’s kind of my favorite time of year with the cooler temperatures, the dazzling colors, the harvest of pumpkins, squash and other delicious things, the anticipation of Thanksgiving and then Christmas. I especially love when the sun shines just right to show off God’s handiwork as the season changes. I know it was always my mom’s favorite time of year as it displayed all of her favorite colors. Taking long country rides to see the colorful transformation of leaves in Autumn was one of her favorite things to do.
The cooler weather approaching causes certain trees to go through the process of what is called abscission. This word is the Latin root word for scissors, which literally means to cut. We are in the season of cutting away. As I drink my second morning cup of coffee, I look out the window and watch the soft breeze gently help the trees to shed their leaves that are changing to brown, yellow and red. And God speaks. Watch the trees He says. They are a representation of all of humanity.
Then He explains. The Fall season is a needed part of growth and survival. Though sad to watch the tree lose its leaves, it must let go of what once adorned it gloriously with fresh, bright green leaves of Spring, the deep green leaves of Summer, and finally the reds and yellows of early Autumn. As the leaves begin to drop off in preparation for the tree to lie dormant for the Winter, remember that although it may look it, the tree itself is not dead but only its leaves. Only that which was temporary. Though a beautiful crowning glory for the tree in the warmer months, the leaves are only meant to be temporal for a season as part of its growth process as a whole. The green leaves soak up the warmth of the Summer sun to fortify and provide nutrients for the tree. As the temperature changes the glory of the color display in Fall comes forth, and even though some leaves may detach from the tree before they are brown and some may remain a little longer, they do not struggle or toil in angst against the grain of the process. For every leaf knows when it is time for to allow the tree to cut it off in order to remain strong. The tree must shed what is no longer necessary. Not in the sense of permanently un-needed, but no longer necessary in the sense of its growth and survival for a season. It must let go of that which has become a hindrance to this survival process. The tree knows that if it did not lose its leaves it would not survive the Winter. When the leaves begin to change color, although beautiful, they are no longer absorbing nutrients as well, which is necessary for the tree. The shedding of its leaves means that now the tree can go into a type of hibernation to conserve its energy and the nutrients gathered from the leaves for its time of resting. It may look dead, but it is only resting. Inside the tree is still full of life and vitality that will visibly come into view again in the next season.
He went on to explain further. Once a leaf is shed from the tree, a protective layer grows over the exposed area. In other words, the “wound” is healed. With the cutting away – the letting go – the shedding – the abscission – the healing salve is applied. Then the resting can occur to survive the Winter as the tree awaits silently for its leaves to adorn it once again.
Wow! God is so good to show us His ways through His creation!
This simple yet profound explanation from God about trees speaks to me on so many levels in so many areas. I think I’ve heard some variation of it before, but not in this way with this detail. I hope that maybe it will speak to you also.