I have always loved Autumn.
It’s something I’ve attributed to three things: crisp, cool air that refreshes my lungs; sunshine whose warmth is more a gift than an oppressive presence; and the clarity of the atmosphere as it brightens my view of the vistas before me – colors pop and some days it seems you can see forever.
Today, I find myself driving down a familiar street at just that perfect time of day. Green grass flows before me, vivid leaves speckle the green with rich colors. The air is absolutely clear and a gentle breeze carries the pure whiff of last night’s cleansing evening rain.
And like a flash, I know why Autumn calls to me: it has the most vivid diversity.
Suddenly, the trees are individuals, with depth and complexity. Where all summer we’ve seen a swath of green, we are amazed to find poplars and evergreens, oaks and maples, elms and sumac. They come alive, oddly enough, as they’re preparing to hibernate.
“See us?” they ask. “We’re so very similar, yet so very different. We are, each one, unique and beautiful. We are, each one, different. We bring, each one, some individual contribution to the world, to the landscape. And the ecosystem benefits.”
Now, you can argue that the seasons alone are diverse – in Spring the colors are softer, more subtle. There are more shades of green than you ever thought possible. In Summer the green is ubiquitous, omnipresent, overwhelming. Winter is a strangely beautiful monotone, broken only by the flash of a cardinal or the red berries of a holly.
But it’s Autumn when the green of the grass and the blue of the sky and water are dressed so smartly by those falling leaves – yellows and golds, reds and deep, luscious mahoganies, browns and oranges and, yes, even some greens. So many differences. As leaves scatter, trees reveal forms. Squirrels’ nests are revealed. The achingly beautiful blue skies pop with the contrast of colors against grass and water.
And it seems so blindingly, brilliantly clear to me that society is no different. It’s more interesting, more alive, more beautiful in diversity. Diversity in people. Diversity in ideas and thoughts. Diversity in how we do things, in traditions, and in beliefs. Diversity in colors and in our ways of being.
Diversity makes us aware of our common humanity, or it should. Because diversity strengthens life for all of us. The world – our cities and towns and communities – is infinitely more beautiful and strong as a result.
Autumn carries that within its soul, and tries to show us, year after year. Grateful, today, for the clarity of an Autumn day and for a fresh perspective on accepting others who are different from me.