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Fall Leaves From Birthday Walk - photo by Sharani Maybe it was the misty morning. A dew stew swirled about. Due to a lingering lack of rain, the fall foliage is a little dull this year. Finally today the misty dew coating the leaves during a morning walk before work added a saturation shot better than a Photoshop edit.

Then again, maybe it was the blush of birthday magic adding an enchanted flavor to my surroundings. My spiritual leanings include a philosophy learned from meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy that one’s soul comes center stage on the anniversary of the day we take incarnation. Indeed, my day would include an extra dose of meditation and contemplation before it drew to a close. Whatever the reason, all I know is that as I walked a mile out and back early in the morning, my ever-familiar surroundings turned into a beckoning adventure.

A few of the trees were turning technicolour and I began an impromptu scavenger hunt to pick up pretty leaves to bring home. Maples are a money-back guarantee of fall beauty but as I walked along my quest evolved into finding as many different kinds of leaves as possible. Species such as oak were old friends but as I honed in on my route through the neighborhood all manner of unfamiliar leaves jumped out at me.

My hands were soon overflowing with various shapes, sizes and colors. How is it possible that I have walked these streets countless times yet never noticed the diversity of trees in such a small radius in relation to my house. I felt almost like a time traveller back to childhood when we had to collect leaves and iron them between waxed paper for science lessons in school. What shall I do with them today I thought? I have to rush off to work in short measure.

With a kind of childlike glee, I decided to arrange them around a flower box sitting on my porch and take their picture. The centerpiece was a smiling rock I keep perched on the flower box. Bravo – a taste of all these jewels captured by a camera in a group portrait.

Birthday Walk Leaves - photo by Sharani

Like our fingerprints or snowflakes or human souls, no two leaves were completely alike. The uniqueness of each leaf preached a sermon to me about the glories of God’s creation and the specialness of each person’s voice in the choir called life. What a perfect lesson from the universe to ponder on one’s birthday as we humans are as uniquely individual as these diverse leaves I brought home. Spiritual visionary Sri Chinmoy speaks of this uniqueness and its relation to divine unity in his following words,

As you say, each child is unique; this is absolutely true. God’s creation is like a lotus or a rose. Each petal is unique in its own way. Through each individual child God is manifesting Himself in an unprecedented way.

Each child is bringing down a new message from God which was not known before. Naturally, if the world accepts it, the world is getting new light, new power, new joy, new love. So what you are saying, that each child is a miracle, each child is unique, is so true, because God wants to manifest Himself in infinite ways, in infinite forms, in infinite Light. A child is here on earth to show us that God does exist, and God is manifesting through that child.
Excerpt from Four Summit-Height-Melodies by Sri Chinmoy.

This simple task of collecting different species of leaves started my day with an opening paragraph of joy and beauty. Time and again Nature is my teacher and companion. I feel blessed whenever she steps forward to teach me important life lessons. Next time I observe the trees found amongst my midst, I will do well to remember that classic lesson – No two the same yet all are one.