Around this time of the year, the trees become fiery with hues of scarlet and gold. They begin to scatter on the sidewalks and make it impossible to step onto the chilly street without hearing the crunch of a brittle leaf under my shoe. My neighborhood is dotted with trees. They fill the skyline and obscure the fronts of houses painted in muted tones and lawns overgrown with weeds and grass. As I walk home from my bus stop, I stop and look at all the striking colors lining the paths. I think of how wonderful it is to be surrounded by the beauty of nature within such a chaotic world. A moment of pure peace is brought by the slightly dewy smell of freshly fallen leaves. The day’s drama and gossip runs through my head, and I realize how insignificant it is compared to the larger things in life. It brings me peace that despite all the problems I face, I can still find reasons to think that the world is wonderful.
Whether it was learning a family member had a serious ailment or getting in a fight with a friend, I’ve always found solace from my problems in simply looking outside. I was 3 when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Even when he came home from the hospital without any hair on his head and chemicals pumping through his blood stream, my father would wear a genuine smile and laugh along with the world. I don’t have any clear memories of how I felt during such a serious time, but I do remember lying down on the grass while looking at the sunlight shining through the leaves of our tree and just having a great time with my dad when he got home. I would let the grass cushion my head and giggle as he would point out funny patterns in the large ash tree’s limbs. The bright rays would graze my face, and I felt content with the world; even while my father was incredibly ill. Even 11 years later and after my father’s successful battle with cancer, this still holds true. With the pressures of school, friends, and everything hectic in life I always take a moment to let go and leave the ugly truth for something a bit easier on the eyes.
Currently, our nation is going through many conflicts. The government is in debt and our two political parties have yet to compromise about any true issue. The soldiers in the Middle-East are fighting while families in the US struggle to keep food on the table due to corruption within companies. In all honesty, it seems as though people today are at a loss at how to function in an honest and reasonable manner. We forget everything great life has to offer and focus only on issues pertaining to ourselves. It’s times like these when we simply need to step back from all the world’s dilemmas and take a breath—to realize what truly matters. I believe that if we all just stopped for a minute, thought about the wondrous experiences in life, and admired the simple things, the thoughts clouding good judgment could be lifted; even if it’s just for a moment. In the fast-paced world we live in, people also often become blind to the living magnificence that surrounds us. The essence of life held in the trees and vegetation lining the ribbons of roads and walkways holds the power to bring peace of mind and meaningful memories, even in the most stressful situations. And for that, I truly believe in the colors of the leaves.