Medellín, Colombia

May 26, 2019

In the Leaves

Over the last few weeks, I've been fascinated by this tree directly across the street from my apartment.

It's tall - five or six stories - and its branches are covered with broad, wide-veined leaves.

Or they were, until about two weeks ago.

See, a couple Thursdays ago, with no apparent cue, all the leaves just started - well, leaving. They fell in bunches, showering down to the courtyard below. And within a few days, every single branch was bare.

This was especially weird, because it was just this tree - everywhere else I looked, every plant in sight was green, full, unchanged.

Early the next week, I looked more closely. And to my great surprise and happiness, I saw that the entire tree was covered with small clusters of brand-new leaves, unfolding.

For me, watching a young leaf stretch and unfold is one of the great joys of the human experience, and it has been so satisfying.

But it's also made me think.

See, here in Medellín, it's basically the same temperature all year round. It's delightful for us people. But it presents a bit of a dilemma for our deciduous friends. When do you shed your leaves, let a chapter close and make a fresh start, when there's no cold snap, no spring thaw, no external cue?

My friend across the street has a simple answer - you make your own spring.

I thought about that idea in the space of our modern, climate-controlled lives, where we largely don't have seasons. Sure, the view changes out the window, but we go to the same place and do the same things basically every day, all year long. So how do we get that fresh start, let go of things whose time has passed, and make a space for new growth?

And I think maybe the tree out my window - decades older and wiser than me - may be onto something.

Just pick a day. Any day will do. Let the old things go - all of them. And start over from where we are now, new.

Have a fresh week,

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week was from Refinery 29, whose work I'm increasingly falling in love with. It's about fashion, Namibia, and a surprisingly powerful dress.

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