Do you rake, blow away, bag and shred, compost, mow, or justignore the blanket of red and gold covering every horizontal surface outdoors as leaves fall to the ground?

Whatever you do or don’t do with the leaves of autumn—here are three things to consider regarding the unavoidable shedding of the trees.

1. Think of leaves as free, organic fertilizer and mulch. Set the rotary lawnmower on its highest cutting height and run over them until they’re shredded. Then place them around plants and in flower beds as insulation from winter’s chilland at the same time save a worm or two from all those hungry early birds.

2. Allow falling leaves to trigger a visit to the library and read books about autumn. Here are two of my favs for young readers – or listeners.

Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, by Julia Rawlinson. Fletcher, a little fox with a big heart, worries about his favorite tree as its leaves turn brown and—gasp!—begin to fall. Fletcher does his best to protect the tree, reattaching leaves with grass and grabbing them back from forest creatures hoping to line their burrows. In spite of his best efforts though, autumn comes—leaving something even more beautiful in its wake. Compassionate kids and parents will identify with Fletcher’s sweet concern—and learn that sometimes change is good.

Fall is Not Easy by Marty Kelley. This funny tree has a really hard time every autumn. It just can’t seem to do fall right. Instead of having its leaves turn gold or orange, the leaves change into a rainbow, polka dots—or even a hamburger!—Kids will giggle at this silly tree and probably identify with the frustration of not being able to do something that comes easily to everyone else, or having to keep trying and trying when theydon’t get it right the first time.

The last, and most profound reason to love falling leaves is the visual opportunity they give us to pause and reflect.

I like to think of each leaf as a thought, a memory, a moment, an event,  a deed or action that has been a part of the year gone by. Some dance like the confetti of joyous celebrations with echoes of laughter and memories to treasure. Some decorate the path I walk with hopes and dreams begun that will continue to change, grow and evolve. Others spiral with lessons to keep and pain to let go of. The barren trees left behind remain as a symbol of order with joyful expectation of new beginnings to come.

The seasons change – but God does not.

He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

He loves you.

He is for you.

You can trust Him with your future.

“For I know the plans I have for you, “declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

As you rake, bag, blow, shred or compost leaves this fall, what thoughts will you reflect upon?

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