Everything is a metaphor. I guess it just comes down to poignancy and relevance of the message as to the effect it has on us.
Take the people who drive up to the Northeast and spend hours winding up and down wooded back roads to view the changing of the season. I can’t help but wonder if they can see the forest for the leaves.
Every time I see the trees in the fall the colors remind me of a bruise. Not your everyday bump into a piece of furniture but the result of some spectacular accident. The kind that carve their initials into us. (Are there any accidents?)
The leaves like turned pages, all their stories blowing together. Romantics like to say that ignorance is bliss. I give you the evergreen.
The changing colors are just the outward manifestation, all the real work is done underground. It’s the same with the trees.
It’s understood that auxin, the chemical that controls the cells at the base of a leaf, stops being produced in the fall and that is why the abscission layer starts to grow and literally strangles the leaf. Without water and nutrients the chlorophyll (green) starts to disintegrate and lets the other pigments start to shine through… carotene (yellow) and anthocyanin (red) among them. Of course, the tree remains completely unaware of the colors they are producing or even that there is someone looking. Only the arrogance of people stops us from considering that something similar could be going on with us.
They drop each leaf like a memory, knowing they can’t hold on to them. They count the seasons in rings. As we only get one winter we keep track by the diminishing number of things that ring true.
I wonder if any of the people sitting huddled in their cars watching the leaves turn colors ever ask themselves if it hurts.
I think it does.