Fall is such a beautiful time with trees glowing in brilliant reds, golden yellows, and bright oranges. I absolutely love to watch the changing leaves this time of year. Ordinary trees become awesome spectacles and everyone can’t help to stop what they’re doing and admire their changing beauty. It is a fleeting season though and when it’s over, I’m sad. There are no leaves for several months when the long dark winter takes over. Every year, I feel the same bittersweet love for fall – I love the majestic leaves but I don’t want them ever to fall!
A tradition that my mom and I have had every autumn is to read a chapter from Felix Salten’s “Bambi – A Life in the Woods.” The chapter captures a conversation between two remaining leaves atop a great oak by the meadow’s edge. It is late fall and many of the leaves have already fallen. As the days grow colder and darker, their own hold to the tree is growing weaker and weaker. They question why they must fall and what awaits them:
“Then the first leaf said quietly to itself, “Why must we fall?”
The second leaf asked,
“What happens to us when we have fallen? We sink down. What is under us?
The first leaf answered, “I don’t know.
Some say one thing and some another, but nobody knows.”
The second leaf added, “Do we feel anything?
Do we know anything about ourselves when we are down there?”
The first leaf answered “Who knows?
Not one of all of them down there has ever come back to tell us about it.”
– “Bambi – A Life in the Woods” by Felix Salten
Reading this passage always tugs at my heartstrings. Salton captured something so beautiful yet sobering through the conversation of these leaves. Salton’s simple yet transparent personification carries with it some deep and heavy truths – truths about the reality of death, and the ever constant change of seasons.
Reading this chapter always makes me stop and appreciate all those tiny autumn leaves. What bravery they exhibit – to fall into the deep unknown. It gives me a deep love for them and it makes me grateful that they can burst with such beauty just before they fall.
Living in California, we do not always have the most autumn leaves. But I am definitely thankful for the few we have and treasure all my photographs of them for once they fall, it is only in my photos that they remain.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Here are two treasured favorites that my mom and sister gave to me.
What great reminders they have been to me over the years!
My Mom made this for me while away at college and I think it’s a great reminder to trust God in the difficult days!
My sister Emily made this and it’s a good reminder that even when we fall, we’ll be safe in God’s Hands!
To view a reading of Felix Salten’s “Bambi – A Life in the Woods” chapter 8, click here:
(Mom says “treat yourself to this tender chapter but be advised to have a hankie in hand.”)
– Naphtalie Joy Joiner