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  • Dan FitzPatrick

Of Fallen Leaves and Memories


November 2016


Stepping outside recently on a crisp fall morning I was stunned (not too strong a word) by the glorious sight of fallen Maple leaves covering our entire lawn like a bright, multicolored carpet. Ah, New England – what a wonderful place to live!


An old, familiar metaphor came to mind: falling leaves as symbol of the natural cycle of birth and life, death and renewal. I thought of those whom we had lost this year. Friends and relatives, some especially close. But it wasn’t a sad thought. It simply couldn’t be so in that moment on that spectacularly beautiful day.


Instead, there followed memories. Clear and crisp as the autumn air. Warm, comforting, amusing. Sights, sounds, stories, all blending with the subtle crunch of dry leaves underfoot. A wave of emotion came next: pure, unadulterated thankfulness for being, and for having had those memories. An appreciation of being richer for having had these others in my life. Recognition that their examples encourage, inspire, instruct, guide and support me every day.


We all rush through life intent on something. We rarely stop to enjoy the things we have. More rarely still do we reflect on what we have been given, and offer thanks. And one of the greatest gifts of all is to share in the life of another.


So as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s take a moment to remember those who, while gone from us, have played a role in making us who we are. Let us give thanks to those “upon whose shoulders we are privileged to stand.” And let’s enjoy the beauty that is fall in New England!

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