By Richa Bhattarai
It was around seven in the evening one September Sunday. I was coming back from my first International Students potluck dinner at the President’s House. As me and my friend walked back to our dorms from the Igleheart parking lot, looking at the trees on our back campus, I explained to her how I had never seen the trees change color in the fall and that I was a little disappointed that it had not happened yet. I had heard about the lovely falls from my family and friends living in this part of the US and was slightly worried if Annapolis was different from the places I had heard of. She said to me in her assuring voice, “Don’t worry, it should be here soon. Just wait until the end of October.”
For the next few weeks, I eagerly waited for the trees to change colors and late-October finally came by. There were colorful trees everywhere on campus and around the town. I loved it. On a Wednesday afternoon after my Greek class, I decided to go on a walk around Annapolis with a friend. We talked about the readings we were doing for seminar, about our classes and about just how beautiful Annapolis looked with the colorful trees. As we walked around the town I picked up leaves which are still on my desk.
After we both went back to our dorms, I realized that the walk was not enough for me to take in all the beauty of the fall. So, I left my dorm again and went down to the college creek. As I walked past the colorful trees on our back campus and saw the beautiful fallen leaves, I was reminded of a quote by Homer in the Iliad- “Like the generations of leaves, the lives of mortal men. Now the wind scatters the old leaves across the earth, now the living timber bursts with the new buds and spring comes round again.”
These lines make me wonder if he is suggesting that the same repetitive cycle occurs within each human being. We may not be as aware of the seasons within us as we are about fall or spring but I believe that there are phases in our lives too, which begin without our notice. Their presence strikes us only when they are at their peak but finally when they end, we have a hard time accepting that they are gone. The trees were soon going to lose all their leaves. However unlike us, there seemed to be no complaints from the trees against this fact. While the trees were losing a part of them so gracefully, I was not happy with the inevitability of the situation. I was having a hard time accepting that all the leaves would soon be gone and the trees would be bare. This perhaps was the reason why I picked up some leaves and kept them with me.
In our lives, there are so many leaves we pick up each fall and do not let them go with the wind that welcomes winter. We keep these leaves hoping that they will comfort us through the cold and dark winter days. Some of us might let them go as spring comes by but I did not let the leaves on my desk go and had them with me all throughout the year. Now, that fall is right around the corner and it has been a year since I read the Iliad for seminar, I have been reminded of the quote by Homer again. The leaves fall so that the trees can have the new ones in the spring. They don’t fall for us to hold on to them. They fall so that we learn to appreciate them and to let go of our leaves within us. When the leaves of this year start falling, I will take the leaves on my desk out with me. As I let them go and find their way with the leaves of this fall, I hope to no longer hold on to the leaves within me.