Before Solstice Re-Leaf

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” ~J Rumi

In print, on nearly the last page of our local paper
a short piece about upcoming Winter Solstice;
an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day
and the longest night of the year.

vineyard's second harvest ~d nelson

vineyard’s second harvest ~d nelson

Nearby leaves lying in transition
seem to know contentedly
this state of things & their place in the universe’ wonder.
Do they require awareness of the paper’s other pages
of bad news, sad news, outrage & despair?
They express understanding about
where they are, here & now.
That days are getting shorter & shorter
& it’s time to ready for winter
here in the Northern Hemisphere.

while still at the surface ~d nelson

while still at the surface ~d nelson

Bright greens transform into yellow and orange colors.
Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along.
The bright reds and purples seen in leaves are manifest mostly in the fall.
In some trees & vines, like maples & grapes,
sugar is trapped in the leaves after photosynthesis stops.
Sunlight & cool nights of autumn
cause the leaves to turn sugar into radiant reds.

Decaying leaves express a simple truth
that darkness is a natural phase, to be embraced.
And that actively letting go
of attachments
to future & past’s
fears, anger, despair & regrets,
offers a beautifully peaceful continuation
into all of our potential
for light & wisdom.

Calm breaths, gratitude for this gift of life,
peaceful actions of body, speech & mind
are like satiating foods
accentuating Vivaldi’s changing seasons.
As simple leaves, may we
be nourishing for descendants
in times of shorter nights.



61 thoughts on “Before Solstice Re-Leaf

  1. AmyRose🌹

    Gorgeous post, David! I’m soaking up the tranquility here …. thank you so much! All our leaves are gone and a light dusting of the white has come. Have a wonderful weekend!!! ❤

      1. AmyRose🌹

        Lucky you. IF there had been any here, they are long gone what with the whipping winds we have right now. I had wanted to get snow pics but the winds kept me home. Hopefully soon I will get another chance!!! ❤

  2. Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

    Very nice photos and poetry, David! 🙂
    When I was a kid, I used to pretend fall leaves were the faces of beings.

    Reminds me a bit of T.S.Eliot’s:

    “And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
    And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
    The surface glittered out of heart of light,
    And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
    Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
    Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
    Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
    Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
    Cannot bear very much reality.
    Time past and time future
    What might have been and what has been
    Point to one end, which is always present.”

  3. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature

    This is beautiful to me, David. The thoughts, the words and the lovely photographs.

  4. Faraday's Candle

    “Winter Solstice;
    an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day.
    and the longest night of the year.”
    Beautiful combination of words and images. Really like the floating leaves in the blue pool.
    Wonderful wishes your way!

  5. Shakti Ghosal

    Lovely pictures and verse.

    What resonated for me were these lines of yours:

    “Do they require awareness of the paper’s other pages
    of bad news, sad news, outrage & despair?
    They express understanding about
    where they are, here & now.”

    There exists so much of power in being mindful of the moment, is there not? Taking a cue from your words would allow us to avoid the trap of regrets from the past and apprehensions about the future. So what practise do we need to adopt to be mindful in this manner?


    1. smilecalm Post author

      thank you for your kind words & curiosity, Shakti.
      the human mind has so much potential
      yet seems easily caught by its primitive, survival habits.
      for me, living mindfully, incorporating awareness into daily life
      offers the best hope of living with understanding, compassion & peace.
      wishing you calm, happy moments. you may be interested in this orientation to mindfully living I produced:

  6. Cate

    Lovely images, and a beautiful reflection. I love the dark and mark the Solstice to honor it — to appreciate its richness and mystery — more than I do to celebrate the return of light. Thank you for another wise and gentle post.

  7. ShethP

    Beautiful analogy and reminder! Love the inspiring quote by Rumi and the vivid photographs, as well. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  8. Jet Eliot

    Your posts are also like “satiating foods,” David. Thank you for this peaceful reminder about the earth’s seasons, our lives’ seasons, and the beauty that helps us transition. My best wishes to you….


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