Working in the garden today I found two burnished, red maple leaves lying on the green summer grass. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first. It’s still July, almost August. But at my feet were the telling signs of fall already beginning, two fiery harbingers of the days to come.
They were rather small, I noticed. I looked up into the maple trees that line both side of the driveway. I couldn’t see any more red leaves. All of them appeared large and green, if a little thirsty from a lack of rainfall. I picked up the two leaves, studying to see if they were somehow a mistake, an error, or had a pest or disease that might have caused their coloration. Nothing appeared off or unusual about them. Except that it was still summer.
I wondered if Mother Nature knew something I didn’t. She usually does. I have gotten used to that fact, and to becoming accustomed to learning my place in her scheme of things. It felt a bit disturbing, finding these red leaves so soon.
I believe in global warming, and I am always on the lookout for changes in the land around me, signs that damage is being done. I know there are many people who say or believe it’s a fallacy, that scientists are not telling the truth. I can’t imagine why they would however, there doesn’t seem to be any monetary reason for such a lie on their part. Like the people who discovered the world wasn’t flat- what kind of profit did they make?
Even if global warming is a hoax or a mistaken idea, isn’t it just better to treat our planet and the creatures we share it with as if it’s true? Where’s the harm in reducing waste, pollution, and carbon emissions? Where’s the harm in using less fossil fuels and implementing solar power or not cutting down so many trees? Where’s the harm in recycling, repurposing, and reusing? Why knowingly poison our only home –and the home of future generations–when we can do it all so much differently?
Maybe the leaves I found mean nothing except an early arrival of autumn this year. Maybe they are flukes, a mistake of one maple’s DNA code. Or maybe they’re not.
Finding them convinces me even more to keep doing what I’m doing, living a less wasteful life. To continue being mindful of the world around me, and trying to care for it as much as one person can. I hope somehow it will make a difference.