There is something conflicting about the season of Autumn.
The way the leaves fall away from their mother tree,
gracefully trusting the wind to take them where they need to go.
It’s a wonder if they do it intentionally,
or if the wind comes and sweeps them away
before they’ve had a chance to let go.
Those scars don’t leave, you know.
If you were to collect some leaves
from the base of a tree and examine them,
be able to see which ones left on their own time
and which ones were pulled and pushed away.
Sometimes, holding on causes more
pain and damage than letting go.
It’s impossible to know which option is better.
Letting go too early may result in weakness and death,
but letting go too late may result in injury and pain.
A leaf’s mother tree won’t be able to protect them forever.
Even in nature, there is a point where
you have given all you can give.
It’s a wonder, just how much a mother
will sacrifice for its sapling.
She continues giving even after her death, you know.
She becomes the ground in which
her sapling will grow roots.
There is no question of nature versus nurture when
nature nurtures nature.
Perhaps it is an act of self-care;
the only way the mother tree can reclaim a part of herself;
the only way she can let go.
She will always be the first to sacrifice her life,
while her sapling simply stares at the sun,
unaware of the magnificent life ending so theirs can begin.

Lia Nizen is a teacher, CNA, and full-time college student. She is locally known under the name LNPoetry and resides in Wilmington, NC. As a disabled woman, she has always found refuge in writing and hopes to help others find the same strength and safety she found in poetry.