Tiny Autumn Tree

Trying hard to fit in.

“I think I can. I think I can.” It’s what I imagine this little upstart tree reciting as it struggles to transform its ordinary green into one blushing leaf after the other. This Charlie Brown version of autumn caught my attention because it’s across the street and in my line of vision for morning coffee. I can’t miss it.

Writing about trees is just about the last thing I’d expect from me. I am, after all, an avid student of HUMAN behavior. But one day I started pondering on this little guy and made up a whole big story about him in my head. It looked to me like he was trying very hard to be Autumn. He was mobilizing up all the gumption he could muster so he could contribute to the magnificence of the season. Or maybe just to measure up to his flaming partner, the Japanese Maple, on the other edge of the property. In my fantasy, he was merely trying to fit in.

Flaming Japanese Maple

This flaming Maple is hiding behind its opposite.

Fitting In

I’ve wasted lots of time over the years trying to fit in. We have a useful phrase around our house that pops up frequently, Faulty Thinking. What began as a euphemism for “I am wrong” has evolved into anytime our brains veer into the wrong direction. And I’m sure mine has. Like most people, I want to be liked. I want to know I matter. Fitting in and being accepted seem like logical steps, but spending my time figuring it all out is my Faulty Thinking. I have more important stuff to do and the days are whizzing past. By the way, this catchy phrase is handy around the house when the words “I was wrong” get stuck in your throat. Attention: Men.

Learning a life lesson from a tree is new for me, but this little guy is trying the best he can to measure up and to give some pleasure to passing eyeballs. The creative side of my brain couldn’t help but notice.