There is always something to hear in the forest. Some days when there are few colorful leaves or flowers to spot, I spend time listening to the many sound variations around me. Certainly, my ears are always tuned to pick out bird calls I know and enjoy. But I’m also listening for songs and chatter from my feathered friends that I don’t recognize. We are on the flyway, so often there are migratory birds that pop up. Yesterday I was surprised by a large flock of robins. Sometimes their song has been silent for so long that I’m startled by its sound. To my delight, there were cedar waxwings with them! I enjoyed watching them foraging in the trees and then taking a dip in the creek tributary.
Today I see the remnants from the wind and rainstorm that blew through yesterday. Leaves are down and small branches have broken off. In the spring, a rainstorm brings down the tulip tree blossoms and the newly formed fruit of the sweet gum. The fruit of the cottonwood is so high up I rarely get to see it in its bright green state unless a spring rainstorm brings it down. Today I saw both the green and the ripe fruit. Soon the path will be strewn with their seeds like a sudden spring snowfall.
In winter, the trees creak and rattle as they scrape against each other without their leaves. I can hear the rustling of the remaining dried leaves on the oak trees. I do prefer the sound the leaves make in spring and summer. But I especially enjoy the soft whispers of the pines. As a child, I’d go up into our pine forest on windy days, snuggle in under a big tree and listen to the wind moving the branches all around me.
Today while my pup and I were sitting on my creek-side bench, out of the corner of my eye I caught the fluttering movement of a tiny leaf that was doing quite a dance with the wind. At times it would flutter in the soft breeze, then it would spin so fast I could barely see its shape. I don’t know how it managed to stay attached. It’s almost as if it didn’t want to let go. It was clearly time to fall off as it was now a brown color unlike some of the other leaves on the tree. Trees don’t shed their leaves until the light and temperature changes signal them. God has programmed this intelligence into their DNA. Every tree is slightly different. (If this interests you, go to the Books I Love section of my website and read The Hidden Life of Trees.) I am continually amazed by the intricacy and minute detail that God planned into the life of each individual tree.
We are always trying to run ahead or lag behind God depending on what He’s asking of us. And yet He knows exactly when that little leaf will push out its green shiny form in the spring, and when it will be part of the show of color in the fall and ultimately drop to the forest floor. The leaf doesn’t question the timing in any of this. But we often question God’s timing.
I do admire the tenacity of that solitary leaf to hold on to the branch. I guess this can be good if you are being buffeted about and don’t want God to let go. But there comes a time when you have to trust His timing and let Him send you on the next part of your journey. Sometimes we resist. Far better to enjoy the days of dancing in the wind and floating down to the forest floor. Every journey the Lord leads us on brings at least one discovery. Often it is abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.
“He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”
Psalm 135:7 NIV