When Leaves Prophesy


tasha burgoyne -when leaves prophecy2

The sky was cluttered with autumn leaves like flying fairies set free that morning. They fell from the places where they had been previously huddled together on their own branched bubbles of gold, rusty-red and orange. As we drove to my overdue eye-appointment, my daughter shrieked with delight after a big gust of wind brought an entire cast of leaves across the stage of her backseat window.

“Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Just minutes before, I was silently grumbling about all the appointments I needed to schedule, and how impossible it felt to get to the doctor for myself. I wished we were doing something other than my eye-appointment, as overdue as it was. While I fumbled around to make sure I had the necessary insurance info along with a barrage of toys and snacks I planned to use to keep my daughter busy while I told my eye-doctor which letter was blurrier, I acted like one big emoji-eye roll.

I’ve spent a lot of time barking at my school-aged kids about things like stopping a game to use the bathroom, and re-tying their loose shoelaces so they won’t trip, and about how taking care of themselves is important because they are valuable and worth it. And yet there I was grumbling about having to take an hour to have someone check on the health of my eyes. I am a hypocrite in the middle of the worst kind of mommy-war: my own against myself.

I can be resistant to make time for myself these days. This season of parenting our three kids feels rushed and pushy, like a traffic jam of a million interruptions. I convince myself there’s no room for all of me. This resistance was built one sleepless night after another. My children aren’t babies anymore and yet every night, one, if not all three of them, need something. Thirst, fears, runny noses or a missing fuzzy friend has forced my husband and me to share the last bits of uninterrupted solitude I keep daring to hope for. Solitude and stillness elude me. Words that used to describe the way I best relate to God seem like adjectives that are out of my grasp. And yet I have a hunch that this resistance is rooted in more than the obvious. I wonder if these circumstances have only allowed me to see something that has always been there.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

It takes many interruptions of love for me to truly see. What if all of the things that God uses to force me to delay my plans: interrupted sleep, necessary appointments, or entire seasons of life that have left me drained and questioning what’s left of me and all the things I thought I knew, are only messengers here to remind me that I am loved? What if these interruptions wake us and shake us from the branches we’ve clung to because we’ve forgotten that we were made to be free?

You and I–all of us–must learn to cease striving, and look around. Receive the pause. Love letters have fallen from the trees.

They pirouette in a goodbye twirl

flirting with the wind against an eternal backdrop of translucent blue.

They dance like prophets come down to whisper songs of a new Spring.

“It’s coming,” their pointed maple tips and spinning stems say.

They want to know if I will pause to see them and thank them for what I see.

Will I?

Their bright colors are hope stories,

They are beloved grace warriors.

They remind me who I am.

Every death trembles because these leaves don’t just fall down,

they dance and speak of all things upward.

They fall brave messengers, made alive to deliver these messages to the world:

The coldest breath in our lungs,

the darkest night of our lives,

the days of our selves feeling squashed thin into crumbs underfoot,

and the best of our dreams becoming blurry and grayscale,

is not the end.

Spring is speaking in the dance of Autumn’s prophesy:

December is but a necessary pause before Love falls and rises unexpected

to give sight to the blind and offers to set all hearts free.