Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A guest blogger: Kim Denmark: Leaves

So, I’m thinking that meaning in life comes from our ability to create change and sometimes the beauty seems to be in our capacity to yield to it. The struggle for me, at least at the moment, seems to be in discerning which one will be the most advantageous. Should one only yield to change when she is powerless to change the situation? Our culture seems to teach us that, always telling us to go after our dreams, chase down success. The questions occur to me: Do dreams or success ever just come to us? Could the yielding to or accepting of situations that we perceive to be less than favorable actually be a step in the right direction in helping one achieve a dream or success?
I was walking through the woods today and I kept getting hit in the head with falling leaves. Finally, I decided to stop and look up at them. So, here are these leaves that were once all green and beautiful. I mean, don’t we consider the green leaf to be the normal leaf, the leaf in its most natural state, its truest self? It seems to me that if I was a leaf, I would be the proudest after I pushed out of my little bud and was displaying my newborn self proudly on my branch. Great work, right? Tremendous effort. Way to push through and get what you want, leaf. Right?
Except see, I’m not so sure anymore because here comes fall, demanding change. I mean nothing stays the same forever, right? Geez, come on life, you almost seem to want it both ways. So the leaf must yield. That must suck to have no power to control the change that is coming your way. I can relate. But then, the most amazing thing happens…the leaf turns into a beautiful color. I love colored leaves. In fact, I prefer them to green leaves, even if they tell me green is the best. Yielding.
Then, like today, when I was watching the leaves, they finally have to leave their little branch. The wind demands it. No choice. Powerless. I watched them coming down at me. It made me laugh and cry all at the same time. They almost seemed to be having fun. I’m not kidding. They were spinning and twirling and going back and forth every which way before they just landed, very softly and graciously, I might add, on the ground. Dead. For goodness sake, surely this is taking it too far. My god, leaf, do something. Don’t let them kill you!
But, then, here’s the thing. The leaf helps keep the forest alive in its dead, decomposing state. I learned recently that the dead leaves in the swamp create peat, which ultimately, many yielding leaves later, creates a new forest floor. A new forest where there used to be a swamp. The leaves made that by just giving up and dying. Great job leaves. Way to go!
So do we only yield when we perceive that giving up will cause more good than harm? Or when fighting for what we want would cause more harm than good? And who’s to say what is good? It’s hard to know sometimes in the moment, especially when all you can feel is the losing, the not getting, the dying. To fight or yield, that is still my question.