Crimson Leaves

Fall trees

I went for a walk in the woods, a place I love to walk. It was late autumn and the trees had lost most of their leaves. I shuffled along a path that was filled with leaves grown brown and crisp beneath my feet. As I rounded a curve and came upon a tree that I often sat beneath.I stopped amazed. My tree, which I fondly called Miss Maple, stood there in full crimson glory with fall color. Rushing over, I took a place on the ground beneath Miss Mable and struck up a conversation. “Miss Maple” I asked, “Isn’t it a bit late in the season for you to still be wearing your glorious fall colors? Most of the other trees are bare by now, ready to face the winter snows.”

“Oh, I suppose I should be bare by now,” said Miss Maple, but I just could not face another dreary winter in a dull grey dress like the rest of the trees. I feel so special in my crimson gown. I need to feel special! So this winter, I will NOT shed my leaves.”

As a brisk wind stirred the leaves on the ground I thought a moment and then said: ” But Miss Maple, what will you do when the storms blow and the snow grows heavy trapped on your leaves? Won’t your branches bow and break? You could become misshapen, or worse yet, broken!”

“Oh I am not worried about that”, said Miss Maple. ” It rarely snows that much here, and I like my crimson gown, don’t you? And, after all I’m not like the other trees in the forest, you said yourself, I’m special. ”

“Yes, Miss Maple, you are very special to me. I come here often to sit in your shade in the spring or summer. I bring my grandchildren in the spring to play with your babies on their helicopter wings. I come in the summer to picnic or read in your shade. And I especially enjoy coming her to spend time with our creator.”

“That settles it for sure”, said Miss Maple. ” I’m keeping my gown this winter. You can sit beneath my leaves all winter sheltered from the winter sun, or snow which ever the day holds.”

I sighed. ” Miss Maple, it will be far too cold for sitting on the ground in the winter, and if the snow should damage your branches I would be so sad for you. You must let go of your leaves. You must do it quickly before the winter comes.”

“I will NOT, I want to feel special. I cannot feel special if I look like all the other trees in the forest. Don’t you think the splendor of my gown is especially striking against all the grey bark of the trees around? Everyone who comes to the forest will notice me first. They will see just how special I am.”

“Miss Maple, you do not need a beautiful gown to be special. And besides, if you don’t lose your leaves, there will be no helicopter babies in the spring. No planting seeds of other maple trees to grace the forest. It would be such a loss. This is the season for letting go…for putting aside things that may do you harm, or hinder fresh growth. It’s also the time to forget trying to stand out on your own and be special because of something you have done. It’s time to listen to our creator. Let go of your leaves.”

“But…But…Iff..I do…”she stammered, “how do I know that I will grow a new gown in spring?”

“Haven’t you always, Miss Maple, for all the springs you have been here in the forest? And don’t all the other trees around you do the same?”

“Well…so far…but how do I know that I will be given a new gown next spring?”

“That is called faith Miss Maple. Our creator promises us that he cares for us beyond all others. To him, as well as me, Miss Maple, you are special.  I’ll stroll by this winter on a warm day and stop to chat. Then in the spring, I’ll come again to sit beneath your leaves.”

“But how will you know me?” said Miss Maple,” if I look like every other tree in the forest?”

“Oh don’t worry Miss Maple. I found you last winter didn’t I? And the winter before? Now is the time for letting go. Let go of those things that hold back your growth. Let go of the things that you control, and trust our creator for a new work in your life. Wouldn’t you like a nice spring green dress next spring? And a fresh crimson gown next fall instead of one worn and tattered from seasons of storms and wind?”

“Well….”said Miss Maple, “I would like to make room for that new gown…”

I smiled, as crimson leaves began to swirl around my feet….Miss Maple and I together facing what our future holds with a whole hearted devotion to our creator’s plan.

Written several years ago, this is not a political statement and predates “Frozen.” It blessed a friend this morning so thought perhaps I’d share a bit more widely.

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2 responses to “Crimson Leaves”

  1. Your prose is lovely. I am unfamiliar with ‘Frozen’. No spouse, no kids, no grankids, not much family besides a couple of siblings with a movement disorder that continues on after both our parents passed. I was their family up close for about a quarter of a century until I arranged for them to return to our childhood state after my job disappeared and my conniving fiance left to marry his childhood sweetheart in another country with whom they brought forth a daughter, who eventually found her escaped father. I live alone now, and my pals are my companion animsls, and the trees behind my home. Your Miss Maple story is do good, it will live in my heart and help my transition into retiremrnt. I am 62, and living off saved memories and faith in Jesus. Thank you. The spirit of your writing is that of The Velveteen Rabbit, or The Little Prince. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Susan. I appreciate your compliment. I’m sorry to hear of your struggles but Jesus is the perfect place of refuge.

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