The leaves may have mostly fallen and we’re well into winter, but Patti’s latest work, Last Leaves with it’s warm, comforting colors and gentle, quiet presence, ushers us into the days of autumn. Her wood burned and hand-painted gourd imagines the last oak leaves clinging to their stems.
They’ve worked all spring and summer to provide so much for so many.
Designed to convert sunlight into food, they’ve spent their entire lives harvesting light and feeding their tree. They’ve offered shelter and camouflage to countless insects and animals. Some of the leaves have met an early end as they’ve become food for a few of those hungry creatures.
Without reservation, the leaves spread out, creating welcome shade for anyone or anything that happens to rest beneath them. And when the summer breeze blows, they fill the yards and woods with their soothing, whooshing chorus.
Giving their all
Then, as the days shorten and the nights grow longer—and cooler, and the sun rises ever lower on the autumn horizon, the leaves prepare to bid farewell. But not before giving one last beautiful gift — their greatest display of all—their autumn colors. For a few stunning days we marvel at the deep reds, bright oranges, and vibrant yellows. And then brown. As far as the eye can see. They’re tired now. They’ve given everything. They’re ready to go. So one by one, they slip away, drifting to the ground.
Beautiful, melancholy autumn
Autumn can be a melancholy season, in a year and in life. But Last Leaves reminds us that there’s hope for the future as well as an appreciation for what’s about to pass. Tucked away between the leaves, Patti has drawn small acorns. As one leaf completes its life and work, as one tree marks another year, new life springs from old and the cycle continues just as intended.
In Genesis 8, God speaks to Noah after the flood, assuring him that He’ll never again flood the earth or curse the ground because of man. He says in verse 22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Last Leaves is a beautiful reminder of the seasons of life, and of the magnificent, loving Creator who gives every good gift to His creation.
A little backstory
The name of this piece is inspired by a classic short story by the nineteenth-century American writer, William Sydney Porter, better known by his pen name, O. Henry. You can read The Last Leaf, a story about giving your all, here.
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More takeaways from nature…
I’m always inspired by God’s creation. You can read another lesson I’ve learned from leaves here.