mike lives in spokane washington and is a pastor at a spirit community called branches

A Series of Questions Part 3: Fall

A Series of Questions Part 3: Fall

I was born on October 27th. Because of this I have had an incredible appreciation for the season of Fall for as long as I can remember. 

Sad music makes me feel warm inside. Changing leaves are one of my favorite characteristics of the natural world. And yes, pumpkin syrup is one of my favorite additions to a coffee drink.

I don’t really know what it is about this season that inspires me to jump back into my obsession with Death Cab for Cutie, spiced things, and a feeling of mystique, but it never fails.

Fall is inherently metaphoric. 

It draws out creativity. 

There’s all this death. All this change. All this new scenery. 

But perhaps this seasons greatest lesson is what it has to tell us about letting things die.

About how that process is okay.

That releasing our burdens is good. 

That we can let go. 

I grew up in Michigan. More specifically, a suburb of Detroit called Royal Oak on a street called Maplegrove. As the names suggests, deciduous trees were a prominent fixture in our neighborhoods. Every year when I was little my neighborhood friends and I would collect leaves on tarps and make a huge leaf pile in the front yard across from my house. 

Every year we could count on those leaves falling from the oaks and maples that littered my street. 

Fall consistently yields exactly what its name suggests from leaves. Trees let what’s been weighing them down all year fall. Fade away. Become piled by children. 

I think us humans can learn something from this. 

I find it interesting how people tend to get this feeling of melancholy in the midst of Fall and early Winter. We’ve become so burdened by things over the course of the year that we don’t know what to do. Where to go. Or how to handle life.

But why don’t we let our burdens die? Let them fall and fade? 

A tree becomes bare and dormant right before for the coldest and darkest time of the year. It’s obviously not a comforting experience. 

But it is through the coldness and darkness life throws our way that we discover the new things that bring forth color and life. 

In order to have access to beauty, color, life, freedom, hope, and renewal, we must let the negative parts of life die. 

Let our burdens fall. 

It is all about perception. A tree never has anything but leaves grow in place of leaves the next year. But it must lose its current leaves to gain the new leaves and cherry blossoms that bring about fuller life come Spring.

For us, and same with trees, it’s not about becoming something completely new. It’s about abandoning our perception of things for awhile. 

Living in that cold and unknowing. 

Only to make way for the new thing that is to come. For the cherry blossoms.

My little brother got into vinyl this summer and the first album he bought was Smoke and Mirrors by Imagine Dragons. One song he really likes (which has in turn made me a fan) is called The Fall. There’s a line that says:

“I’m ready for the fall. I’m ready for everything I’ve believed in to drift away. Ready for the leaves. Ready for the colors to burn to gold and crumble away”

I think the same is true for us and all the burdens we’ve carried throughout the year. 

Ironically enough, the same day he bought that album, I bought one by a band called Night Beds where there’s a song called Cherry Blossoms. In it, there’s a lyric that states the following:

“Cherry blossoms in Spring, and all the joy that it brings. Cherry blossoms in Spring, they mean everything.”

(both songs below)

We must let let our burdens fall away with Fall so the winter can lead us to the beautiful new revelations appearing like cherry blossoms come Spring.

Now some questions: 

What are memories you associate with this season? What do those say about the more metaphoric nature of it?

What are some perceptions and negative forces you can let “fall” away from you headed into the winter? What has made those things burden you this year? How can you change your understanding of those things over winter in order for them to become like cherry blossoms by springtime? 

A Series of Questions Part 4: Lanterns

A Series of Questions Part 4: Lanterns

A Series of Questions Part 2: Balloons in Coffee Shops

A Series of Questions Part 2: Balloons in Coffee Shops