Do you know why leaves change color in the fall? I didn’t until I was watching my kindergartener’s science video. It turns out that chlorophyll takes a lot of energy for the tree to make. In the fall when the cooler weather sets it, the tree takes back the chlorophyll so it doesn’t have to make as much the next year when the leaves come out again. When the green chlorophyll is gone what is left are the other colors that the tree has underneath all the green. Their true colors if you will.
Why am I writing about trees? Well the other day I was admiring all the varying shades of trees when the thought occurred to me – what if people are like trees? Remove the green of everyday life (like say when times are tough or in an emergency situation) and what you are left with is the true color of that person.
This year has been a challenge for everyone. The Covid-19 Pandemic has tossed normal out the window, taking with it the green of everyday life. We have seen such a wide array of responses, from fear and anger to the helpers and health warriors who stepped into the fray. I’m not saying red leaves are better than yellow leaves – for what lies beneath, but it is a good time to take stock and think about this year has taught you about yourself.
In the past year (or two) I have learned a great deal about myself in times of stress. I learned that I am good in an emergency. When my daughter has an autistic meltdown or my husband cuts his thumb on the table saw, I have a cool clear head and do what needs to be done. When others are struggling, I lean in and do what I can to help. I made well over a hundred masks at the beginning of the pandemic for first responders and military personnel – long before I sold masks in stores. I’m not saying these things to brag or toot my own horn. These are things I could only know about myself because I have faced adversity.
Today is Election Day. Today we collectively hold our breath and hope for the best – whatever that means for you. Today in the still (possibly the calm before the storm) take stock of what colors you show when faced with difficult times. Were you part of the solution or part of the problem? What actions have taken or not taken that you would do differently if you could. So go vote if you haven’t already and then take a moment to contemplate on what colors lie beneath.