The Yellow Tree

originally posted on November 9, 2017

Autumn in Arkansas can be a remarkable sight. When the conditions are just right, the crisp cool air and the crystal blue sky provide a perfect backdrop for the artistry of colors that the maples, hickories, oaks and other trees display. Some autumns are better than other for fall foliage. The brightness and variety of color is dependent on many things, including temperature and rainfall. The past few weeks have been rather warm and damp and the colors are not as brilliant or as plentiful in years past.

Despite the less than ideal conditions, I have spotted many gorgeous trees when driving to and from Conway and around town the past month. There was one in particular on Highway 25 that was a beautiful shade of yellow. I passed it several times over the last week, meaning each time to stop and take a picture. Each time, for one reason or another, I did not. The light wasn’t right, it was rainy, it was too cloudy.

However, this morning dawned bright, cold, and clear. The sun was shining and I thought THIS will be the perfect day to get a picture of that lovely tree. As I drove south, I prepared to slow down and pull over. However, to my dismay, the tree was no longer vibrant. Many leaves had fallen, and the remainder had dulled to a yellowish brown. By waiting for the perfect conditions in which to capture the beauty, I had missed my opportunity.

So often in life, we wait for things to be perfect before we make plans or take action on matters. I call this the “if…then” way of thinking. “If” this situation changes, “then” I will do that. “If I lose weight, then I will buy myself some new clothes.” “If I get my house clean, then I will relax and work on a craft.” In recent years, I have also thought, “If my next doctor appointment is good, then I will make plans for the future.” The problem is that the “if” does not always happen or does not happen the way we think it should. By waiting for conditions to be perfect, we often miss opportunities to experience life as it presents itself.

As it turned out, I saw several beautiful trees this morning and took plenty of picture. However, I did miss the pretty yellow tree. There is an oft-quoted expression that “life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning to dance in the rain.” Circumstances may never be ideal for taking that picture, for working on that project, or for planning that trip. But if we can replace “if…then” with “regardless…now” we can truly live life to the fullest each and every day.

-Karri Temple Brackett
November 9, 2017

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