Driving the other day with the little person in my life beside me, we were chatting about all sorts of interesting things – like what the guy on the radio was talking about, what we were going to buy at the shop, and the plot of her favourite programme that features a mouse, duck and a dog.
After a moment of quiet, she looked at me with big, sad eyes and said, ‘I sad’. She really did look sad so naturally I asked her why. She replied she was sad because all the red trees were gone, and then lowered her head in an attitude of despair.
Red trees are a result of the incredible natural fire that appears as autumn days emerge. But they mean more than pretty leaves for her. They mean a world of adventure. Our first experience together of the red tree led to jumping in puddles made by a neighbour’s over-zealous driveway watering, and the excitement of entering a dragon’s lair.
We’ve collected hundreds of red leaves and most of them ended up flying off to Paris or becoming boats on which smaller leaves played captain. They became hats for us and for the ever-so-patient cats, and one or two landed up between the pages of a book to be saved for another time.
She simply didn’t want to listen to my reasoning that the red trees would be back again next year. I explained that in their place, flowers would emerge along with shiny, bright green, brand new leaves. At three, it’s difficult to understand that a future exists – each day is a changing landscape, so the past (even just last week) is important. She remembers promises made in rash moments and will remind you at exactly the right time.
Seasons change and life changes. Looking back, though, memories of beautiful days abound and it’s always interesting to me how well we forget the hard stuff. It’s a brilliant glitch in the brain’s operating system and why we’re able to look back with rose coloured glasses. That mist of splendour gives us optimism and trust to move forward into the future – it gives us the opportunity to believe in magnificence.