I don’t typically go around hugging trees, although I think it’s an admirable thing to do. But it’s about 7 p.m., close to sunset, and I just took a walk around our yard, breathing in the musty smells of fall and admiring the intense show of color in every direction.
When I came to one of our hickory trees, I stopped, looked up, and found myself immersed in gold. The hickory leaves are the most beautiful shade of ochre. Some are tinged with brown around the edges, but together they make up a halo that extends two stories into the air.
I couldn’t help myself. I saw that strong trunk, the graceful way the lower branches curve toward the sky, and I just had to give it a hug. How could you NOT want to get close to so much beauty?
I found myself thanking the tree for being there, something I don’t do often enough. In a yard filled with trees, this one stands in a corner where it’s easy to overlook. It prompted me to ask what qualities in myself stand unnoticed in the corner? What parts of my essential self have I not appreciated lately?
This is what nature does: It invites us to notice, to be mindful, and to give thanks for all the ways we nurture and are nourished. If it’s still light out where you are, take a walk, breathe in the fragrance of autumn, and see how nature extends its arms to you in a gentle and healing embrace.