We are nearing the end of Fall, or Autumn, in certain parts of the world. A time for a change in the weather, adding crispness to the air, highlighting transitions in nature as we prepare for what’s next.  Farmers Markets have closed or are closing for the season. Fresh produce and plants will go dormant as the temperatures decline heading into Winter. Signals of the seasons, much in line with life itself, extend the repurposing of the elements around us.

The vibrant colors of the trees are waning, as deciduous plants drop their leaves. While their timing may differ, based on the species or location, the inevitable will occur as they prepare for the climate ahead. When we choose to listen to the sound of the wind flowing through the leaves, our impressions may differ based on how we feel in the moment. Rustling, crackling, whispering, or a peaceful rush knowing life involves more than one aspect.

We enjoy their splendor and are saddened when the branches are bare. The once supple texture of each leaf soon transcends into a browned fragile being with a new purpose. As they fall to the ground, they’re better suited for their eventual breakdown. Their role has been recreated from something of beauty to something of substance.  Together they cluster along the base of the plant helping to prepare for a new season of growth. Creating a layer to help the ground absorb water. Providing nutrients to the soil in their own right.

When we don’t realize their new purpose, we may rake them up, and shew them away. For our eyes may miss the intention of their mission. A dead leaf to some, a growth invigorator to others. Expanding our recognition of the journey, perhaps we shred and mix them with the soil encouraging nature’s Law of Return.

The Law of Return states that nutrients removed must be returned in the quantities taken away, in order to maintain a balanced ecological state and fertile soil.

~Ecology and Farming

Ash, apple, aspen, beech, birch, cherry, elm, hickory, maple, oak, pear, poplar, walnut, willow – the names go on and on. The colors a spectacle in this time of change, signaling an end, knowing they cannot grow normally as they transition into this dormant state of being.

Those that produce fruit must go dormant or they will not grow well going forward, and their yield will be impacted. The chill requirement varies based on the species but is an inevitable factor in the long-term health and production of the tree. We can take lessons from the tree, for we must each go dormant from time to time too. A temporary growth inhibitor can protect us from growing at a time when we can be damaged by the frost. This pause can be our greatest opportunity for growth going forward.

Those with larger root systems are often better prepared for the harsh temperatures ahead. Heart roots grow from the base of the trunk and expand out as they seek water and nutrients with purpose defined. They lack the glamour of the leaves, but without them, the tree would merely topple over, and fail to nourish the structure above. The trees with the strongest and deepest roots can grow through almost anything, as they persist on their mission to retain life, break the wind in the harsh temperatures, and provide shade in the hottest days of Summer. Growth and depth-dependent on the nutrients they are fed throughout their life, and the conditions of the environment. Their mission in jeopardy if either of these conditions is drastically altered.

Moving into the next season involves a flurry of activity, most happening beyond what our eyes can see. The animals collect their wares:  leaves and twigs to build a fortress, nuts, and acorns to store and eat later, seeds dispersed, and planted for another season of reproduction. Shelters are created inside trees, under rocks, or underground to hibernate in or to provide a safe home to return to. Others migrate to a warmer place, in community or alone. Each action done with and without awareness and intention. Purposed and repurposed as life continues beyond the present moment.


Susan LePlae Miller
Susan LePlae Miller
I am a true believer in the value of each person. We are each unique and are constantly changing with the pieces of our lives. Every person, place, and experience has an impact. As Founder of Pieces of I, my intention is to work with partners on purpose-driven projects and to empower people to follow their passion. My diverse background in supply chain, product, and partnership management has enabled me to see business from many viewpoints. Translating complex topics to help others understand is something that comes naturally. I love photography, and to write about life, business, and values. Sometimes these topics intermingle, just as they do in our day to day lives. Respect, compassion, and kindness weave throughout my stories because they are the pillars of who I am, and what matters to me. I am inspired by connection and the seemingly impossible. My inspiration comes from growing up in a large multinational family. Now as a mother of four, amazing, adult children I have the benefit of sharing the "teacher/mentor" baton with my kids, who are in return showing me a whole new aspect of the world from their viewpoint. Learning is endless, and helping others is one of the most important things we can do on this planet.

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    • Thank you so very much for the warm welcome Ineke. I appreciate interacting with you on LinkedIn as well.

      I do love how we can look to nature for clues and lessons – the interconnection is enlightening. I appreciate you reading my article. Have a great week!

    • I appreciate the kind welcome Mark, and thank you for sharing your article as well. While we are restricted by time, we have the choice as to our reinvention. The power to choose – purpose and repurpose.

      Wishing you well in yours, and look forward to engaging more!


  1. Thanks, Susan.
    I rake the leaves in my yard simply as a nice neighbor, to promote domestic tranquility. If I could somehow keep all of them there, I’d happily leave (bwahahaha) them to do their work. I rake enough of them into bags to placate my neighbors (whom I genuinely like), then the rest go into the woods to run through their color phases and nutrify.

    • Ah yes Mac, I understand how it can be as a “good neighbor”. Thank you so much for reading my article, and sharing some of your experience at this time of year. I love the sights, sounds, smells, and feeling of renewal the seasons bring. Just like in life, we all have purpose, and have the opportunity for repurposing.

      Have a wonderful week, and thank you again!!

      Best regards,