Trees Afire

This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those contemplating retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Click here for her website:

CHITCHAT: I will be one of several speakers and will present a lecture on “Finding New Opportunities” at the Senior Congress XI hosted by Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation – Lifelong Learning: “Explore Your Opportunities,” on January 27, 2016, 8:45am to 2:30pm (free, lunch provided, reservations required), location: St Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, 5801 Kanan Rd, Westlake Village, CA 91362

Now, on to my blog:

Rossmoor Trees III 11-25-15Oranges and reds, pale greens, golds, pinks, and yellows. These are the shades of nature in November in the beautiful retirement community where I have been staying. They are the trees changing their colors in the fall season. Not natives, not wild, but breathtaking, cultivated imports that calm the mind, distract the thoughts, share their peace.

Those magnificent, arboreal giants dressed in their autumn costumes stand in line like belles at a ball waiting to be claimed by the next partner on their dance cards. Their falling leaves rain down like snowflakes, surrounding me gently as I walk, treading on the ones that have already made it to the ground.

It is my first experience living with this particular free gift of nature. I’m a Southern California girl, not used to such a display. Some of you have probably grown up with this magnificence. Even so, I can’t believe it ever gets old. As I drive down the streets, I’m constantly pulling over to snap another photograph.  One is not enough; certainly ten is not enough.  Snap, snap, snap as my cell phone battery runs lower and lower.

I’ve tried to visit such places in years past. However, I’ve never hit it dead on, always arriving when just a few branches show a bit of color, or the trees are already bare.

I like it; I love it! I must have more of this in my life.

Fall TreeHere’s what I saw when I looked out of the window of my rented condo: a tree afire—a metaphor of what we must do for ourselves. I came upon a wonderful saying a few years ago: Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire. So true and so profound. These days, it goes by a less dramatic term: self-motivation.

How do we do that; how do we motivate ourselves to press on, to keep going when we’re down, discouraged, or times are hard? Yes, it’s so difficult, but think of the alternative. That’s even harder. Pulling inward, ducking down–burying your head in the sand, your hands, the pillow, a bottle. No, don’t do that; be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to move ahead, to try for what you’ve always wanted.

We’re so afraid to take that step. We’re frightened of the possibility of failure and even more frightened of the possibility of success. What would you say to your son, your daughter, your grandchildren, the kid next door? Why is it always for others, but not for yourself? You deserve a shot just like everyone else.

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4 responses to “Trees Afire

  1. Beautiful poetic blog. So often your blogs set me on fire to do more to get my stories published or heard. Thank you.

  2. Sheila Sauber

    Wow, Lee Gale,you are truly on target and on fire with this one! See you on Sat. at 10. Sheila

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. …a very timely blog for me, as I go through reassessment and planning of future goals. Thanks, LGG! Where is your retirement village located?

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