Senescence is the condition or process of deterioration with age. Abscission is the letting go. Scientific terms but with such poetic feel.
Having arrived at 40 something, I am inspired by anyone or anything alive that ages and let’s go of life with grace and confidence.
It has been a particularly slow autumn, the quintessential season of senescence and abscission; an invitation to turn to nature. For there is much grace, confidence and exuberant beauty by which the leaves age and let go.
These images are a fragment of a personal, slightly poetic, and somewhat philosophical foray into forming a harmonious relationship with my own aging.
These are a selection of my observations, not something I sat out to capture with preconceived ideas. They are what the leaves chose to reveal in this moment of time with its own unique peculiarities: the trees that line my neighbourhood, the type of leaf that happen to be on my path, or the angle of light.
Three ideas stood out for me.
Leaves in autumn of their life, are broadly seen as immensely beautiful, awe inspiring, uplifting! Why don’t we, as a collective, extend the same view to ourselves?
When it comes to the leaf, we believe it its continuum; a deeply held belief, understanding and acceptance of the process of its life. It is one thing now and then on the journey of becoming another.
What if we did extend that view to ourselves, to see us on a continuum at the edge of this forever changing and expanding universe? This idea comforts me.
There is purpose
Abscission is the shedding of a part of an organism; a plant dropping a leaf. The very first step of this process is resorption where the leaf gifts majority of its nutrients back to the tree.
Is this why in our older age we feel an energising impulse to “give back”? I feel there is refreshed meaning to be found in this way of thinking.
Where the leaf is no longer,
there is everything.
As the leaf ages, it loses pieces. Looking at the missing piece, we either see a void, or we see how once again, that piece has become a part of everything, the universe.
To similarly see ourselves as part of this continuum of everything, is another comforting thought. As the universe changes, expands, un-morphs and re-morphs, so do we, in harmonious flow with everything.