I’ve spent significant time in the last few weeks raking up fallen leaves. Specifically, London Plane Tree leaves. They are a popular street tree in this area. They’re beautiful in summer – light green leaves, fantastic shade tree. However, being deciduous, they shed leaves in autumn. But they don’t have the beautiful red, orange and yellow colours that most deciduous trees seem to have. The leaves turn a kind of crinkly brown before they drop off in their thousands!
I wont go into the in’s and out’s of why and how deciduous trees lose their leaves – essentially it is a strategy that trees in very cold or dry climates use to survive the extremes in climate. It preserves nutrients and moisture and lack of leaves avoids damage to the tree during the cold weather.
It is the change in temperature, amount of sunlight, and probably other factors I dont know about, that triggers the process that prepares the tree to shed its leaves.
I’m not a deciduous tree, but the cooler weather, the arrival of the rain and the dropping of the leaves triggers me into preparing for my ‘winter’. Like the London Plane tree leaves, I feel kinda crinkly brown.
It’s ‘that time’ of year for me again – Rhiannon’s birthday is fast approaching and a few weeks later will be her Anniversary.
I have a few strategies of my own to survive my version of extreme weather, my grief, that often hits like a storm out of nowhere this time of year:
# I make sure that I pay attention to what my body and emotions are telling me. Usually it is to withdraw a little. I don’t become a hermit – sometimes I’m busy out and about, but if I don’t feel up to being out in public sometimes, then I stay home. I try not to committ to things where possible;
# I’m gentle with myself. I don’t come down heavy on myself if I stuff up, or expect that I’m going to be able to operate as usual. If I want the chocolate, I have the chocolate.
# I do quiet things I enjoy – read a book sitting in the winter sunshine coming through my dining room window, or outside on the garden bench, sit with a hot cup of tea and watch the birds in my garden (winter time is when my garden has the most flowers, so the birds will entertain me for hours!), talk with my kids, write, walk out in my garden, or the park across the road – whatever I feel like that will bring me peace of mind and ease my heart;
# Talk it out – Rhiannon’s name gets mentioned often, memories are shared and I feel like she is still a part of my family. These days we don’t make a big deal out of it, but it means so much to me that people remember Rhiannon;
# I know this time of year is approaching. But sometimes the sadness surprises me. So I cry. It’s all good. I’m past caring who sees my tears, and what they may think. Holding the tears back helps no one, least of all me.
# I rake leaves…