All the leaves are brown…

All the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray…Everyone knows that famous lead in vocal…Some kids were singing it in class yesterday…silly boys…I don’t why in world that song came to their minds…but they were busting it out in weak falsetto…

It made me think…I hate it when the brown leaves cling. They are supposed to fall…aren’t they?  I love the sight of bare tree limbs against the sky… especially the  gray sky.  I have always loved black and whites. There is a clarity, a poignancy that they convey.  I love to find interesting b&w compositions of unclad trees.

“Tree” scenes have long arrested me, made something catch in my chest.  It is not symbol, nor some deep metaphor attached that impacts me so. It is simply the beauty of the trees, naked, exposed so very plainly.

Watchman Nee teaches the opposing principles of gravity and life. Gravity pulls us earthward. Life pulls us sunward. A tree is the embodiment of the principle of life. Without life’s reigning in the tree’s mortal body, it too, succumbs to the principle of gravity. Dead trees fall.

But living trees do not. They stand and reach high toward the sun, whether in the season of growth or dormancy. I have a friend who told me recently that she is in a season of dormancy. She discerns no apparent fruit, nor flower nor even bud…but she and I both know that life flows internally just the same… life that holds that tree in its stretch upward. Dormancy is life without show…life hidden…life preparing.

I so love those bare trees…sillouetted against the sky…alive in mystery… but just the same, alive.



Filed under observation

2 responses to “All the leaves are brown…

  1. Mrs. Sullivan, this is incredible writing. You write with a conviction and clarity that is very rare. There are any people who can write beautifully, but have no message worthy of sharing. There are many people who have a truth to declare, but have no means of conveying it. You have the unique talent of being able to do both. You gather profound truths from things that are seemingly insignificant and then you relay that truth in a clear, cutting, and straight forward way.
    I was especially impressed by this article. It is funny how much we have in common with that tree sitting in our backyard. Just like a tree, we are always growing and it is when we stop growing that we will shrivel and fall. Just like a tree’s bark is laid bare when it loses it’s leaves in the winter, our true character will be revealed in the hardest and most bitter times of life. We require certain things to survive and just like trees, sometimes we get climbed all over.
    It has always seemed to me that tree’s our reaching for something. They spread their branches up into the skys. They reach for something that is higher than the sun or moon or even the distant stars. Sometimes I think it seems as though they are reaching up to God. Holding their branches high attesting to His greatness and His might. They seem to be waiting in stillness and silent anticipation for the return of their creator.

    • You may think that I push, push you all the time to write. I do. I will. You are just going to have to deal with that. (Smile)
      Thank you for the compliment and for the response. It means a great deal to me to have you read these things, even more that you would take time to think about them a bit and respond. Such interchange is about my favorite thing.

      I grew up and went to high school and college with thoughtful, brave people…we talked…we wrote…we stretched and let God fill in those stretched out places with Himself. I really miss that. More and more, I miss it. So, I am now, you could say, ruined for less. I’ve lived these last twenty or so years with little of that…but I sense those “holy things” rising in me anew. It is time again to give them place. I have contacted a few of those old friends….and some of us are going to invest a few choice moments in such pursuit again. They, too are ready…they have been hewn deeper wells and and they are now also thirsty for that opportunity. I want you to be a part. I want you to write with me from time to time. I am not so much in pursuit of greater skill for you, as I am the greater you. It is there…but it will cost you to see it revealed. It will cost you focus and stillness and a little time.

      I think that you are a “pay the price” kind of girl. I think that you want more…want to be more.

      If one only swims in shallow waters…one will never know what the deeps are like and why some risk all to, if for only a moment, dwell there. I want to help you get curious and then ruined for less. You are so talented. You gift will be accessed. It will be discovered and employed…the question is for what…economic profit or redemption?…The latter is the thing…and if there are funds to be gained…may they flow into your life so that they might flow onward into God’s purposes.


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