Life Lessons From the Autumn Leaf

November 6, 2017

Life’s view from the Autumn Leaf.

The Beauty of Change

We know change is coming, so we embrace its beauty for all the world to see. It’s exciting when my friends and I all begin to turn colors. I can imagine its much like when humans get their hair done or change their style of clothing. You just feel brand new, hot, beautiful–a sight to be seen, for sure. When most of us receive our new colors, and a few begin to fall, the humans come out by the droves. I’ve watched so many walking hand-in-hand. I’ve heard many intimate conversations and often witness family portraits. Children ooh and ah about the wonder of our change, and the whole world seems to take a second glance to admire our new look.

However, as the cold winds begin to blow, we know we must hold on tight to our branches until it’s our time to fall. It’s interesting because none of us want to drop. We just want to stay in our spot, high above the ground and admire the magnificent atmosphere fall brings.

We watch…

as each of our friends let go. One after another give way, and they fall to the ground at the mercy of the wind.

It’s hard to let go. We are family. We’ve braved many storms together. We’ve laughed together, complained together, been frustrated with each other, and have even cried together. We’ve grown together, and now we must move on.

The Fall

It’s my turn…

I’m terrified yet curious to know what my next adventure holds. 

Where will I land? 

Will it hurt to fall? 

What’s next for me?

It’s inevitable. I will fall.

As I feel my stem give way, I find myself floating in the sky.

It’s liberating.

It’s freeing.

It’s exhilarating. I love it, and I don’t want it to end. As I coast to my new home, a bed of many vivid autumn leaves, I close my eyes and bask in the feeling I just experienced. 

Wow! 

Why was I so terrified. That was incredible!

Unexpected Landing

Just as I’m dreaming of how I might recreate the feeling of the fall again, I find myself surrounded by many like-minded autumn leaves. Each of us begins sharing similar feelings and introducing ourselves. Falling isn’t so scary, in fact, floating to the ground and connecting with other autumn leaves I’ve never met before is quite enjoyable. We each have so much to learn from one another. 

Pain and Laughter

When it seems all is going well, a massive, metal sharp-edged monster begins pushing us together into piles. Some of us are separated from the others, and many of us suffer damage–gaping holes. 

It’s brutal. 

I hear a teenager scream, “I hate raking of leaf piles!” 

Rake. The monster is undoubtedly the rake, and the teen is certainly frustrated. Being raked into huge piles is often an unpleasant adventure. However, all of my frustrations are quickly forgotten with the sound of giggles and joy as children jump in our midst and scatter us about. Yes, the kids running, leaping, and landing on top of us doesn’t exactly feel blissful yet the laughter and enthusiasm are almost as thrilling as the fall. I’d go through the raking all over again to entertain the children.

Hopeful Future

After all of the fun, our next stop is being bagged up and taken away for a complete transformation. It sounds super intimidating, but we know we must be broken down so we can be used as mulch. After learning what mulch does for new growth, each of us begin to understand our purpose.

As we journey to the mulch making factory, we learn to lean on each other and chat about our hopes for the future. In fact, in our new role, we are elated to view “growth moments” from another perspective. In the end, it isn’t sad goodbyes.

No. Not at all. 

In fact, we can’t wait to see what new growth will sprout because of our sacrifices. 

Stay tuned for our spring story. 

~The Autumn Leaf


I think there are a lot of Autumn Leaf lessons to be learned. I’ll not spell them out, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. What have you’ve taken from this passage as it relates to education or life, in general?

*Side Note: Might this be a fun activity for students? Find any seasonal, inanimate object and share lessons we can learn from it.

This post inspired the questions I used to guest moderate a #tlap chat. 

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