It was beautiful.
The sky was blue, the brick was red, the grass was green and the tree was so, so, gold.
I remembered sitting on the scratchy carpet in Mrs. Nordahl’s grade one class, learning about why trees change colour in the fall. As autumn days are cut to darkness and fall is cut to winter, the green pigments flood out, extraneous without the light that feeds them. Gold is the colour of death.
But as we extoll upon fall’s fiery beauty, we might ask why we find it so. The reds and yellows splattering our campus are omens of winter, and a symbol of vanishing vitality. They are the tree’s last words, and their parting gift before a barren darkness.
As I stood next to viagra canada Bates residence staring up at this incredible tree, I wondered why we don’t revel in spring the same way. Sure, everyone loves spring, the blissful rebirth after a harsh winter, but we don’t savour it. We keep looking ahead to summer. Fall is different because it’s ephemeral. We know it won’t last. We don’t like what comes next.
The leaves remind us how little time we have left. Fall inspires people to do things: go for one last hike before it gets icy, wear your sandals one last time, roast around one last bonfire, eat one last bowl of squash soup and live as much as possible before frigidity sets in and we all retreat to tunnels and dorms.
It was a bit of a shock to come inside and open up a magazine to a spread on anti-aging creams, serums and cleansers. Society doesn’t find beauty in wrinkles and grey hairs, but they’re no different from gold and red leaves.
When a woman looks in the mirror and spots her first wrinkle, the tired trope calls for a catastrophic melt down. She looks in the mirror and curses all the things that caused it. All those afternoons sunbathing on the lawn, those blissful cigarette study breaks, the late nights imbibing with friends, she stares in the mirror and wishes she could take them all back. Is it really worth it to lose all those joyful moments for a less flawed face?
When a man spots his first grey hair, he doesn’t celebrate the fact he lived long enough to earn one, he worries that he has lost his looks. He fears he looks old, tired, like his grandfather.
If a tree could see its leaves, how would it feel? Would it rejoice in its new beauty, or fear their imminent loss? We dislike signs of age in ourselves because they remind us of how much time we have left, but rather than plan how to spend it most people plan how to keep it from showing. What if grey hair and wrinkles were treated like fall, inspiring us to really carpe diem this time, instead of feeding into the $114 billion anti-aging industry. Couldn’t that money be better spent making the most of our own personal autumns?
I know that a bunch of college students who won’t be facing this anytime soon may not be the best people to make this plea to, but it starts with you. Next time you see your grandmother, try to appreciate the silver in her hair like you appreciate the gold in the leaves. If you’re lucky, that’ll be you some day. It can be beautiful too.