The thing about the leaves here in Boston is that they change so quickly. Just one week before I shot this photo this tree was entirely green, save one little patch at the very, very top that my roommate Hana pointed out to me on a walk to the grocery store. And each day as I strode past it on the way to class - always a couple minutes later than I'd intended, no surprises there - I saw the color ripple down through the leaves until I just couldn't stand it anymore and had to stop for a photograph.
Now the leaves are almost all gone. We've had wind and rain in the intervening days, and though other trees in the neighborhood are quite pregnant with dry, rustling leaves, I can tell they will not be on this planet for many more days. Each day as I walk to school I try to tune out the thoughts that tumble through my mind, so that in the quiet I may better appreciate, and more firmly etch, these brilliant colors and tiny details into memory. I still strive for my moments of mindfulness and self-reflection; truly, they make my entire day better, and truly, I am never quite consistent enough in making time for them. These trees - their beauty - the charm of fall - demands mindfulness. If only we heed their call.
I sometimes wonder if Northeasterners and Bostonians make so much ado about the foliage and fall weather because we know what a doozy of a winter season we're in for, thus we cling to the short vestiges of beauty and that crisp feeling in the air, made all the more precious by their contrast to what is to come. Yet I remember slender, elegant and golden gingko trees in San Francisco every fall, their leaves scattered over the ground as though purposefully strewn there for the movie set of an art film. Or looking up at the 30 foot tall trees that line bike boulevard in Palo Alto as I cruised along to-and-from the fabric store in my favorite way to spend an afternoon, and taking in the brilliance of red, orange, green. All are precious memories. All have their own unique beauty.
We're in for more rain tonight and tomorrow. When we emerge, it may be a whole new world.
Thank goodness for the moments I did catch this past month! Thank goodness for mindfulness.