In Living/Dying Color
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
I feel like one of the lucky ones. Urban life suits me. Living in a city means my grocery is a block away, my kids’ school is across the street, there’s a library and a post office only streets away and parks are strategically planned in neighborhoods nearby for the necessary respite from all the concrete. But the best part of my metropolitan dwelling is being able to walk to work.
As I recently traversed the root-bumped sidewalks of Seattle, I felt an exquisite youthful joy in traipsing through the large yellow, copper and red leaves scattered in droves all around. We had a particularly dry September and October which meant that the leaves stayed on the trees longer, and the ones that didn’t wisped across the streets and piled high in gutters. And because the months were dry, there also happened to be sun. So, if I wasn’t looking down while crunching through the leaves of oaks, maples and walnuts, I was looking up through the branches of aspens, willows and elms watching the light cascade and shimmer. The rich sights, the crisp sounds, and the familiar smells demanded that I stop the hustle and bustle and do something more sacred: reflect.
This bounty for my senses invited me to reflect on how there could be so much beauty in so many dead things. Everything around me was either dead or dying and yet it provided a profound moment of pause, engagement, curiosity, play, satisfaction. This experience felt so contrary to what the propaganda around me regularly promises: “new” is where satisfaction comes from. My Instagram feed invites me to new products easily purchased, Facebook allures me to new destinations that will bring me joy, Pinterest implores me that new projects and skills are where happiness lives, Google allows me all new information at the return of my questions. So, how is it that in these dying leaves crinkling under my feet, I found more wonder, awe and joy than in any of my latest acquisitions?
There are as many answers to my questions as there are steps on my walk to work. But what remains for me is curiosity. Could it be that the things in my life that are dead or dying have as much to offer me upon reflection as those things that are fresh and exciting? Is there room to consider the things that are no longer shiny and new may still have insight to share? If I take a good long look at what is broken and fallen all around me, might there be a meaningful message?
This is our hope for therapy. As we pause each week to reflect, we will often see things that are broken and fallen all around us. But rather than scrape up the debris and shove it into bags that go in the trash, we wander around and wonder out loud together. We listen for the message and look for the beauty in places others pass over. There’s a richness in observing even what is dead or dying. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just walk the leaf lined streets of Seattle or schedule weekly counseling sessions with one of our well-trained therapists and see for yourself.
Author: Krista Law