In December of 2016 I was fortunate to have the story of Freddie shared with me. I encourage our followers to take some time to review the video The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, and utilize this blog to contrast your own reflections. Feel free to interact in the comments section below with your observations, especially those that may differ from my perspective or address aspects of the story which I do not. Valued reader, I look forward to this opportunity to learn from you.
Freddie was a wide and strong leaf; this speaks to his existence, self-perception, and perceptions of others. He acknowledges his surroundings, noting the differences and similarities between himself and the other leaves—his life is shared with the lives of others. Daniel, the wise and experienced leaf, helps Freddie understand life. The relationship between Freddie and Daniel illuminates the hierarchical nature of existence. Additionally, it is important to note Freddie enjoys life, his relationship with Daniel, and the interconnection between himself and the other leaves with which he shares proximity.
Daniel explains to Freddie that part of Daniel’s purpose or reason for existing is to help others feel better about their existence. Freddie shows great insight as well, understanding that despite the faults of others it is self-satisfying to assist them and it is still possible to enjoy their presence.
The frost represents the acknowledgement of the change in season and despite not knowing exactly what would take place, Freddie has Daniel to turn to for wisdom and insight. Freddie notices he has begun to change color and so did the leaves around him; he recognizes the colors are different. This aspect of the story represents the differences in how death is approached and the relevance of life concerning the process of death. In essence, how one lives is not too dissimilar from how one dies.
The breeze represents the change in perspective occurring during the process of aging and specifically following the acknowledgement of the imminence of death. Things once enjoyed may become challenging and even detrimental and frightening. The season of fall represents the change which occurs in relation to the lifespan, in the story it is referred to as a change in one’s home. This season is marked by the realization of death. Freddie must understand everything dies and thus may better come to terms with his own death. Freddie goes through a period of denial of death but eventually receives more insight from Daniel. Insight including understanding everything approaches death differently, there is no manner to exactly predict the moment of death, life is not forever, life after death is a mystery, and the transition to death is natural. When these thoughts are acknowledged, one begins to question the purpose or reason for life—iterating that life is about life. This point rationalizes the natural tendency for questions of life to be a concern of death and in the moment of death life cannot be changed. This concept, if grasped early in life, provides a guide for life itself. Unfortunately, many do not come to terms with these matters before the season of fall, and are left to question if they capitalized on the previous seasons.
As Daniel falls, he smiles peacefully, and Freddie has lost a dear friend. The days began to shorten and the snow weighs heavy. In the days leading to natural death occurring in old age, the days do shorten and the grief of losing others weighs heavy. The loss of those dear is a reminder that we will follow and we will undergo death without those who are already dead. As Freddie falls it is the first time he sees the whole tree. He seemed to finally obtain an understanding of the vastness of the world, he acknowledged there was much he did not experience and much he did not know. In that moment, he conceptualized his existence in a new way, as a part of something much bigger than he had ever imagined. In Freddie’s last moments he recognizes he will certainly die, and he does not know what manner of life exists beyond death.
My hope for you is holistic acknowledgement of your current season through the lens of both the past and future.