As I hiked through the forest today, I was overcome with a sense of peace. The hillside rolled out in front of me and the brown, gold, yellow and red leaves covered it like a shag carpet. At first I wondered if my sense of contentment was nostalgia, remembering that shag carpet that covered our family room years ago.  But as I pondered, I realized it was more than that. 

I realize that hiking in the fall brings me a sense of peace because of the changing seasons. Spring brings the wispy green, summer the heavy canopy of shade. But fall is a season of endings. The leaves have done their summer work and are now letting go their tenacious hold on the fingers of the tree. They are singing their colors as they shower the earth. There they lie, pelted with rain, decaying with death, soon to be swallowed in the earth.

But what gives me a sense of peace is that they do not disappear. They simply morph into the stuff of which life is made. They take their nourishment and mingle it with others to empower the future of life.

Life is lived one leaf at a time. We speak words, we act. We love, we hate, we nurture and we undermine. We share and we grasp, we give and we hold on. All of these moments in our lives do not last. They finally fall into the” ground of being” and they nurture what is becoming. They empower what can be. They are not gone. They are transformed into energy for a new future.

So, I don’t think it is shag carpet that makes me smile as I shuffle through the dry leaves. I think it is the peace that comes with the hope that our lives continue to bless the future, long after we have acted or spoken.