Just One Red Leaf

BY T.F. STERN

While taking my afternoon walk down our private road towards the mailbox, more of a chance to exercise my replacement knee than to check on the mail; I happen to notice a single red leaf on the ground.  I’m not sure which tree it fell from; this being only the second week in September, it seemed a little premature to have Fall leaves.

The afternoon temperature was right at 90 degrees, about normal for this time of year.  I’d walked enough to notice beads of perspiration had formed on my forehead.  I take my cellphone with me on these walks, just in case I need to call for help getting home, in case my knee decides it’s had enough.  I still find it rather amazing that folks can take photographs with their “phone”; so, I snapped a photo of the fallen leaf.

That single red leaf, as my mind worked to explain why I’d taken a picture of it, that single red leaf represents hope.  That’s right, hope.

Looking around at the many trees that line our private road, they all appeared to be dressed in various shades of green indicating that Summer was in full swing.  I was unable to identify the tree which had lost the single red leaf and yet it had to be nearby.

Fall and the resplendent colors we look forward to is close, so close as to make me hopeful.  The air will change from being in the nineties to a more comfortable setting, maybe a light breeze out of the north to blow lots and lots of leaves about. 

Perhaps my youngest grandson will come visit and he can toss handfuls of leaves into the air, delighting as they fall around him without a care in the world.  We’ll then go into the house, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate to warm up and smile at having lived to see the seasons change.

Two weeks from now we’re having a wood burning stove installed in our living room.  At this moment it’s in the shipping crate sitting on the porch awaiting the scheduled installation.  In biblical terms this would be called faith.  We haven’t seen any cold weather, at least not at this time, and yet we are acting on the hope that cold weather surely follows the first fallen leaf.

During the hottest days of summer, I was splitting large tree chunks down to a usable size that will fit the wood burning stove we purchased.  That kind of labor, effort spent on the expectation of something that had yet to be…that’s the definition of faith.

Hope and faith are essential elements to having joy.  They have nothing to do with how much money you make, whether or not you are living in a fancy home or under a bridge trying to figure out where your next meal is coming from.  If we can have hope in our hearts and minds that good things will happen and then act with faith believing that things will work out, then everything will work out just fine.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.


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