Engaging in childlike moments of wonder


When was the last time you paused and watched autumn leaves fall?

Let me tell you about a wonderous moment I had the other day walking down the main drag of town. 

I consider myself a bit of a lucky bitch right now. I have time up my sleeve with COVID. To support my recovery from PTSD I purposefully make more time to observe small things around me. 

As I rise I set my intention for the day — to surrender to ordinary thinking. I often ask the universe to send me small miracles that make me smile and fill my heart with pure joy and demonstrate life outside of the square of normalcy.

You may find it surprising to find that watching autumn leaves fall fits the bill of miracles, but then again I am a bit of a self-confessed weirdo. I’m totally ok with that. Your opinion of me is none of my business! I remain focussed on self, the things I can embrace in my heart space, and practice surrendering to the things I can’t.

Picture this. 

You find yourself walking in the glorious warm sunshine. A small breeze is blowing as you steer your path amongst the heritage-listed English elms, down the Traralgon Avenue of Honour.

These magnificent trees line each side of a wide green belt of the original township’s main road and were planted to commemorate the First World War. Given their size and sheer colour magnificence I can believe that!

At times the light is dappled, as the overhead branches provide cover and shade. The sun is thawing from a recent cold snap, yet the air is still fresh. To someone like me who’s just had chemo and the hairs, on the top of my head, are thin, it’s chilly out. That’s ok, that is why hats were invented, they aren’t just a fashion statement.

Back to my walk.

There are times when spirit whispers to me, like receiving a coded message meant only for me. Other times I feel drawn intuitively to look at something. It is as if a hidden magnet is turning my head and inviting me to share a secret.

I was admiring the green lush grass growing everywhere after recent heavy rain. I saw a bogged truck and felt for the driver who was getting reamed by the site foreman. Oh, the stories these trees could tell of the adventures that have been held at their feet.

And yet as I walked I marvelled at the trees which had red-green leaves patched with oranges and golds as you looked up. I liken natures artwork to that of a renaissance painting that I once saw in the national art gallery. I could have been in any country, and yet I was in my simple home town, admiring the fleeting autumn colours. 

The array of nature’s colour canvas was so inviting that I paused, simply so I could soak in the view. I mean just how often are you gifted the opportunity to stop and stare in wonder? It’s often only when you are travelling that you truly relish what you see.

And just like that, a breeze lifted some of the golden hues from the upper branches and began to swirl. If the leaves hadn’t of moved, I would have presumed I had stepped into the matrix and the movie had been paused.

The uplift of the breeze held the falling leaves almost as if they were in suspension, shimmying around the tree. It was absolutely mesmerising.

I likened it to a scene from Harry Potter whereby the ‘Whomping Willow’ shakes its autumn leaves off as winter snaps it to attention.

This aerial flight of the golden leaves was in slow motion. Their descent was not rushed, and they dispersed like a troup of ballet dancers, each dancing but as a collective. So every single leaf contributed to the overall kaleidoscope of the performance. 

Due to the number of trees, all shedding their golden leaves at the same time, and forming this suspension mid-air, the trunks of the trees appeared to shimmer. It was if they were actually belly dancing, and the leaves formed the outer rim of the headdress. 

I have videoed it in my mind as it was simply spectacular to watch.

Remembering it now I am taken back to my childhood whereby my brother and I would rake up fallen leaves in our backyard and burn them. Our family dog would lay in the piles of leaves, presumably because she had short hair and the piled leaves were warm in the sun.

There were several times my brother would rake up the piles of leaves over her as she mooched and slept. And as she awoke startled there would be a massive pile of movement as she emerged and vaulted upon the nearest squealing human.

I’m pretty sure that dog had a wicked sense of humour for this escapade re-occurred a lot each year during raking!

My fondest memory is that same dog hiding in a pile of raked leaves, with only her small wet nose poking out. Cheeky mutt. My brother had called out to her, and her wagging tail had given her location away as the rusty leaves crinkled with her movement. And hence her sudden emergence from the pile of leaves is where came the story of the snoopy snigger — my brother killing himself laughing and rolling around the raked leaves with the dog.

To this day I’m still not sure who had more fun — my brother or the dog. And again I’m reminded that I didn’t capture it on film, but it is indelibly marked in my memories.

There is something magical watching the living art display evolve as the seasons change from hot scolding sun of summer to cold nights and sunny days of autumn. Then as the ice queen arrives and delivers winds and weather from Antarctica the leaves burn in colour. 

It is much like day time fireworks in slow motion.

I shall return tomorrow with my camera and attempt to capture the miracle of the shimmy shake on film, with leaves captured in suspension mid-air. But if I don’t see the miracle, I need only close my eyes and the vision is right there, indelibly etched in my memory bank as another small miracle I got to witness.

Miracles are everywhere when you surrender to ordinary thinking. I found the day I chose to change was the day I began to bloom.