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The Wisdom of Trees

This is what you must remember: the ending of one story is just the beginning of another.

-N.K. Jemisin

When the summer season shifts to fall it's common to see memes and posts about how the trees show us how beautiful it is to let go, referring to the deciduous trees that shed their leaves. They do not have the energy to hold onto the leaves that can no longer create the life sustaining sugars that the tree needs so they drop them. Leaves can represent the negative or stagnant aspects in our lives.

But what happens if we aren’t ready to let go of those aspects of our lives yet? Perhaps the story is still unfolding. Should we feel less than that we aren't able to gracefully release what no longer serves us like the trees around us or are there other trees that we can relate to more in this moment?

There’s no such judgements in nature. The trees adapt to the changes within and around them and we can gain much wisdom from observing them. They are all dealing with similar challenges but use different strategies that work for them to transition from fall to winter.

Many trees like Oaks and Beech would say you don’t have to shed your leaves in the fall. Not all deciduous trees drop their leaves, some are marcescent. Perhaps these trees will inspire you to give yourself grace in slowly letting go, or acceptance in the knowledge that sometimes it's just not that easy and okay to hold on until you're ready.

Marcescence is a phenomenon that even scientists are unable to fully explain. You may have been out for a walk during the winter and heard a rattling noise in the wind. Upon following the sound you notice the dull crinkled brownish orange leaves of the Beech tree. Shriveled memories of warm summer days, rattling a soothing melody with the breeze.

Throughout the winter these leaves become ragged and look as though they are barely hanging on (same tree, same…). Come spring when the new buds begin to pop the old leaves are shed. The mostly decomposed leaves fall to the ground to become nutrients in the soil that will help nourish the tree from which they were sprung. What a beautiful recycling of energy!

Then there are the steadfast evergreens. They keep their needles throughout the year, shedding old growth to make room for the new whenever they need to. These trees seem to have it all together but without nourishing themselves in the way their bodies need, they will need to make some changes. Sound familiar?

In the tree world there are those that can easily drop their leaves, some that hold on as long as they can until they are out of choices and those that hold on and shed their needles in balance with their energy. What tree inspires you the most where you are right now?

Nature shows us that change is inevitable but we have choices in how we react to these changes. Tuning yourself to the seasonal changes in nature can help ease the transitions that we experience both in the change in weather and the changes within ourselves. We need only turn to the trees for wisdom in how to navigate our stories.

Take a moment to go outside and find the tree you are resonating most with. What changes do you notice? Relate what is happening to the tree with what is happening in your life. If you are comfortable, take a moment to explain to the tree what you are feeling. Perhaps some answers may be found, peace will most definitely find you.

Do you have beautiful fall photos to share? We'd love to see them!

Tree hugs,


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