Oak leaves are falling into my garden. Little jigsaw-puzzle pieces lying around with no chance of re-assembly. That tree may last for another century; the potential number of leaves in my garden is beyond count.
Each leaf has finished its work. A little chemical factory waving in mid-air, freshening the air and filtering carbon dioxide. Photosynthesis has changed sunlight into food for the tree. The tree is providing acorns to feed the squirrels. All is well.
You see this leaf? It’s floating in the bird bath and making an intriguing pattern. Subtle colours and muted tones suit its retired status. The only thing left for the oak leaves is making leaf mould. But for now it makes a nice photo.
I’ve pondered my retired status this week. Things take longer than they used to.
I’m leading “Life Groups” on photography; and on understanding the Old Testament. It’s enjoyable – but the morning after sees me going back to bed for an extra hour or two for recovery. The energies run low, even when having fun. Fibromyalgia has a way of draining the batteries and making the brain go in circles, in and out of a fog, and making even simple tasks more challenging. I’m a little oak leaf, learning to rest but still up for a challenge. I hope my “retired” status is a description, not a “sell-by date” – even old leaves have something to offer.
My question to myself is this: if I had been better at self-care over the last thirty years, would I still be on the tree and fully functional?
Rest is a short word but a BIG concept. If we rest properly, we restore and recharge more thoroughly and quickly. Probably we will be more fruitful and longer-lasting.
Leaves are strong enough to stand the gales, the rain, the baking heat of summer. Eventually they retire to my lawn. Next year, a fresh cohort of green warriors will burst forth.
Now, if I can simply prepare the way for the next generation of those who live out their calling from God… If I do that, retirement will bring a very special reward.
Any leaves making you think today?