Worries and Autumn Leaves

 

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir

And yes, those autumn leaves do drop off and remind us that the annual cycle of life has reached its resting time. Those leaves that were so soft and new in spring time lie underfoot, either brittle or mushy.

It’s nature’s way that they will contribute to the richness of the soil next year. It would be nice if our cares would drop off and become brittle and mushy, gradually decomposing to enrich us next year.

John Muir put cares into their true perspective – small, unimportant things that en masse can perhaps become overwhelming. John Muir it was who tramped all over the western side of the North American continent and determined that the United States HAD to preserve its most beautiful areas in parks – so originating the National Parks system.

He it was who preserved the redwoods of California. Few people have memorials as great and grand as his. And I think he must have been a truly happy man. He usually explored and tramped the hills and valleys alone, but never lonely.

His connection with nature, with plants and the rocks and streams was so strong and so laden with meaning about the richness of life that he felt dimensions the rest of us seldom feel.

He felt the living-ness of plants and the intimate connections of rocks and water. But he must have had worries too. He had a wife, a home and two daughters. All of which are delightful but create their share of cares.

We are told that, good or bad, “this too shall pass”.  I imagine him struggling to prove the glaciation of the valleys as he looked at the landforms but with a niggling worry about his daughter’s latest impossible boyfriend.

Could he put it in perspective, with his little worries like the leaves falling from the trees? Did he look at the mountains and the valleys, wondering how they looked before the ice age? How they had changed since? What changes the hand of man might wreak on them?

And did those wonderings overwhelm his little worries?  Even the landscape changes over time although it is generally a slow process. Humans come and go in a landscape according to a faster time scale.

Cares and worries change even more rapidly, ephemeral like the leaves on trees. These too will pass.

 

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