Today I realized that the Japanese maple tree in our back yard (a beautiful tree that sits in the middle of the yard, surrounded by peonies and day lilies and echinacea flowers) has begun to change color, from green tinged with dark red to brilliant, brilliant red. Autumn continues its inexorable movement here in Portland.
I was reminded of a conversation I had with a guy I knew back in the late 1960's. He and I worked together and spent a good deal of time together outside of work (although we remained friends, even though I desperately wanted more from him). He had been dating a lovely young blonde woman, and was ranting about her to me, about how silly and stupid she was because she told him that autumn and winter didn't represent death to her, just a time when the plants were sleeping. At that time, I would have agreed with him about almost anything, so I joined him in sneering at her silliness and romanticism (and was thrilled when they broke up, not that it changed our relationship one bit).
Now, three decades later, I have to admit that I agree with her - completely. Everything needs to rest, to rejuvenate and re-energize. Even though I'm sad when the leaves begin to drop from the branches of the trees, and no more flowers bloom in the yard, I now understand how important it is for all growing things simply to rest for a while.
Every once in a while, I'll catch sight of a hummingbird perched on the feeder, taking a quick rest between sips from the sugar-water-filled globes that hang just next to it. Even those tiny, frenetic little birds need a moment or two of rest before they ramp up their wings and take flight.
It's okay that the seasons change. And my friend was wrong, because I'll be writing about the beauty of spring in six months or so, proving that the trees and bushes didn't die, but were just resting.