How in the world did my tree hide all that pretty red and orange color all summer long?
When learned long ago that all the colors of fall were there all along in the leaves of summer, but they were masked by the green of chlorophyll. We couldn’t see them because the tree was working diligently, steadily on its job of photosynthesis, which requires that green pigment, chlorophyll.
Then as the days grew shorter and cooler, the tree slowed down its work of photosynthesis, slowed down its chlorophyll production, and ta-da!
Look at the beautiful colors!
We’re like that tree. We work in a variety of ways. We are busy! We make widgets, or nurse people back to health, or manage a business, or whatever, and people just see our regular ol’ working selves.
But when we turn off that work? When we slow down? That’s often when something amazing happens. Because now we aren’t so busy with whatever the photosynthesis is in our lives. We can show our other colors to the world. Who knew that she could write? That he could paint? That she could form clay into works of art?
The variety of colors are endless once the photosynthesis stops.
But after the pretty, colorful leaves drop to the ground, then what?
Then those leaves turn into compost with the help of billions of organisms, but that’s an analogy for another day.
That leafless tree is actually growing stronger roots to prepare for growing new green leaves again, for being busy with its job of photosynthesis. We, too, can and should use any time of rest to grow stronger roots, to prepare for our next busy time.
For soon enough, our nature is to become busy again. The green of the leaves will mask the colors again.
But then we’ll come to a point where we’ll pause that next period of busy-ness.
And if we are lucky, what happens next is more beautiful colors show up that we had forgotten or vaguely remembered or knew were there all along waiting for the work to stop or pause again. Waiting for us to be less busy.
My tree was particularly beautiful this fall, showing me colors that were always there. But once those leaves drop, it can rest over the winter and grow stronger roots. I can’t wait to see it hard at work again in the spring, preparing for another fall.