Turn Over That Leaf
What Do You See?
It’s a cliché: Turn over a new leaf. But did you ever turn over a real new leaf—a growing leaf, one that just evolved from a tiny red bud on a once-dry, dead-looking twig on a tree or a shrub? Such a leaf has nothing to do with the cliché’s focus on a change in your life, change in your diet, or a change your job/career/living space.
Spring in Central Florida where I live is subtle, so subtle one could miss it by not paying attention. The leaves on my pink tabebuia fall off and grow back again in the same week, so if I don’t stop and notice, the tree looks like it is always green.
Each new leaf starts as a tiny node, and when first opened, it is red, nearly raw, like it must hide from the bright light of the sun. Touch a new leaf and you will note that it is soft, yielding, ready, and open to change and growth. It is preparing for the time when it will spread and become a new color, when it will fan out and provide shade and embrace the sun and its life-giving chlorophyll.
There is a lesson in the new leaf: It takes its time to open; it opens in stages. When we “turn over a new leaf” in our lives, rather than make brash, unwieldy changes that overwhelm us and turn us from red to green and then to brown in over-fast stages, we can evolve like the leaf. We can open ourselves in a conscious fashion, being cautious to not get burned, to protect the softness still present within us before we’re ready to make a change. When we are ready, then it’s time to fan out, like the leaf, embrace the sun, and continue to grow.