Leaves speak to us in a quiet manner. Coming in many different shapes and sizes, leaves are one of nature’s gifts to the garden. Observing leaves can enlighten us on ways to reflect upon our life’s journey. In one of my horticultural communities, Plantrama.com, C.L. Fornari and Ellen Zachos are sharing the leaf stack challenge. Gathering leaves of interest and stacking them in a way that speaks to us and then posting the photo of the leaf stack online. While adding fun during this transitional season, participating also makes us pause.
While gathering leaves at the break of dawn, I realized that leaves mimic our life experiences. I gathered my findings while a gentle rain fell, in the dark of the early morning. I am familiar with the terrain of my garden even with my eyes closed. A lesson in having faith in my footsteps, courtesy of my Dad’s Life lessons. I realized that leaves are very similar to the moments that create our lives.
While arranging my leaf stack, a few still glistened from the gentle rain, like a refreshing memory. Some of them had begun the metamorphosis into dormancy (Hosta, Hydrangea, Maple), like nesting during the winter. One leaf I turned over ( begonia) to show its beautiful red veins – turning over a new leaf can of times show our true beauty – in the midst of a struggle.
There are also a few leaves that look fresh. Not bothered by the unpleasantness or incidences incurred in life (Hellebore, Impomea or Sweet Potato Vine). The Sweet Potato vine had been lunch for a hungry groundhog just as it became a lush ground cover, spilling over the sides in my planter. You would never know that its growth had been nipped at the stems at the beginning of summer. Now, as the season draws to a close, the lush foliage is on the rebound. How many times have we been at the top of our games and we suffer a set-back?
The Hellebore leaf is a gentle symbol of hope. With its solid green jagged edged leaf, the Hellebore will share unanticipated beauty mid winter. The Hellebore will bloom mid winter. In the midst of a bleak, usually less colorful time of the year, fresh, vibrant blooms will evolve. Shades of burgundy, black, pink, and ivory elegant blossoms show up in spite of the weather. These leaves reflect moments in our lives where we need to have hope. Hope that the bright spot will arrive at just the proper time during difficult moments.
Look, reflect and consider gathering a bit of nature. Take a walk, forest bathe, or go into your garden to gather a few leaves that speak to you. Stack them or put them in a vase and reflect upon them. Have a mindful moment reflecting upon your journey and joyfully anticipate what lies ahead.by