Fall is upon us. We adorn ourselves with boots and sweaters and gaze at the colors of the leaves on the trees and the ground. We snuggle into warm spaces with loved ones. We prepare for the winter.

While taking a fall hike last week, I noticed the leaves scattered on the ground. I mused how certain leaves get to land on dirt, and over time, are taken apart and absorbed back into the soil, becoming a new part of the cycle, the nutrients that fuel the next season’s growth.

While other leaves fall on man-made concrete. There they lay, with what future? To be ignored until they are eventually blown or swept into a pile, then disposed of. Their contribution to the natural cycle lost.

Nature is so wise.

An insight came to me, as I crunched forward on the trail, that the leaves that fall from the trees, are like my life’s experiences—both delightful and challenging. That in some chapters of my life, these experiences have fallen on fertile soil. They’ve had the freedom to be processed and integrated at a natural pace. That these experiences have become the nutrients from which my next cycle of growth was fueled.

When my dad passed away, I shattered into pieces. I honored my broken place. Nurtured it, allowed it to be. I didn’t try to cover it up with a semblance of “ok-ness”. I was fertile soil. I allowed the natural decomposition and integration of this life experience. And it has birthed such incredible growth in me.

Other times, my experiences have fallen on Tiffany-made concrete. A lifeless barrier between the experiences and all the possible nutrients that wanted to fuel my next cycle of growth. But, at times, it’s been too much for me. I’ve created concrete by denying and distracting away from discomfort. I’ve not had the courage to allow the integration of heartbreak and disappointment, and thus, haven’t been able to benefit from the gifts that were waiting.

I honor both paths. Both are part of my life’s journey and its ongoing cycles. But, with this most recent gift of wilderness wisdom, with this insight in my back pocket, I set the intention to be fertile soil.

To be pliant and receptive to all of life’s experiences.

To create space for the natural, Divine timing, the unraveling, the integration, and the new growth.

To trust that what is will always fuel perfectly what’s next.

To trust that pain is not forever, and neither is joy.

To rest easy in the cycles.

So this season, as I watch the leaves falling, a witness to the cycle, I listen to the Wilderness Wisdom. And I choose to be fertile soil.

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