Can I put this leaf back on the tree?

We scampered around a beautiful park on Saturday. Blue skies and changing leaves danced with the sounds of a birthday party and shrieking kids riding down the slide. My beloved mom, my two children, and I walked a trail, climbed a tree, and explored a rock labyrinth.

I looked over to see my nine-year-old daughter shaking a branch to get a few leaves to fall. I smiled and said aloud, "They may not be ready to fall." She shook the branch anyway.

A couple minutes later, she picked up a bright yellow leaf and said, "Mom, can I put this leaf back on the tree?"

My heart smiled.

Can we put the leaves back on the tree?

Intellectually, we know we can't. Once severed, always severed. Once the dry leaf releases its grip and falls gently to the earth, the next adventure begins.

And yet, how often do we try to reattach what's already fallen to the ground?

We say goodbye to a beloved and grief overwhelms our being. In all sorts of ways, we desperately try to put the leaf back on the tree.

We watch a child grow and ache for their younger days. Their aging reminds us of or our aging. We reach up and see if that leaf will find its home again.

We speak harsh words to someone and immediately wish we could pick that leaf up as if it never fell. But it's already floated to earth. The damage is done.

In all sorts of ways, we let go and try to reverse the action, don't we? I think it's what it means to be human.

My daughter spent a few minutes reattaching the leaf to the tree. In fact, she found a spot and the leaf appeared to stay for a few moments. She smiled, proud of herself. We turned to leave. I looked back and saw that yellow tattered leaf gently fall to the ground again. My spirit nodded.

Yeah. We can't put the leaves back on the tree.

May freedom be found in the letting go.

Palms up.