Posted in Uncategorized by The Books Production Team on September 30, 2008



As we awaken this morning to the brightness of a new America, I find that the winds of change are blowing across our Midwestern landscape in more ways than one, bringing with them signs of the coming winter even as we celebrate in the sunshine the possibility of a greater political tomorrow. Today, in St. Louis, the mercury in our thermometers will reach skyward – lazily climbing as the sun arcs overhead, lingering for one last day on the doorstep of 80 degrees. Yet, by this weekend, the first winter storm of the season, which is hovering right now over the Rocky Mountains just a short thousand miles to the west, will sweep eastward across the country, and we will reach into our closet for the scarves and gloves of winter.  In its wake, this front will rip from the trees many of the final vestiges of our summer past, and the leaves will climatically fall slowly to the earth. One short week from now, only the evergreen will stand tall, a symbol of perpetual endurance – until we shortly celebrate the change of seasons by placing one of these bastions of perpetuity in the center of our home.  Such is the cycle of life, where, as Aristotle pointed over two thousand years ago, “change is the only universal constant,” and it is from this metaphor that I draw today’s lesson.


hs-leaves-on-groundNature not excepted, there is nothing quite so beautiful in life as falling in love for the first time.  Though my own life has been filled with defining moments, there are few that I would choose to revisit right now even if I possibly could, with perhaps this one exception.  In this first bloom of summer youth, when all trees are green, we attach ourselves for the first time to another human being – and we believe that things will ever stay the same.  When graduation comes, and we choose to either chance the divides of geography until we meet again at Christmas, or forge forward together at the same university, we still believe our love will not end. And though we may make it through the first winter, or through several, inevitably, the leaves begin to change, and though we often grow for the better, we find that we have grown apart.  In this process, which only the select few avoid, we learn a most bittersweet lesson: that our first love has been deciduous; that the first flame of passion can last but a short while, until the red and orange and yellow leaves separate themselves from their branches and make their way to the ground. 

evergreenAnd then there is pain.  And then there comes healing.  And in time, we learn from our past the lessons that make us better equipped to love in the future – until we are ready to try again.  And though we will never again be so naïve, and never again so wracked by the first throes of passion, and though we may attach ourselves season after season to another string of deciduous loves, we eventually find our evergreen.  The love is solid.  The love endures.  And the love is made stronger as we discover the beauty in the steady presence of the needles – that may occasionally prick our fingers, but will never wither away. 

And so, if you come to college in the fall having etched the initials of you and your sweetheart into some special tree back home, and you wait feverishly for the day when you will be reunited – cherish the moment. As I have said, it was one of the select few times from my past for which I would temporarily trade the experience that now guides me through life – first love is beautiful.  But if, at some point in the future, you find that autumn has come, and that the Indian Summer has faded, know that this is normal.  Someday, when you choose to try again, your commitment and your love will be the deeper and the realer and the more enduring for having the knowledge that heartbreak brings.  There is a love out there for you that will last all seasons.  

11 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. drwizard said, on September 30, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Caption #1: “Jake eagerly anticipates fall rush, when he hopes to join Billy and Sunjay in the prestigious Brotherhood of the Teal Shirt.”

    Caption #2: “Wouldn’t it be hysterical if you went as Darlene again for Halloween this year?”

  2. Gina Palazzo said, on September 30, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    #1 – “DAMNIT – I can’t believe that Mom forgot to pack my teal silk shirt! Now I look like an idiot.”

    #2 – “Three days into his grape juice and cigarettes cleanse, Adam still finds life amusing.”

  3. Mark Christhilf said, on September 30, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    “Jeff eagerly anticipates fall rush, when he hopes to join Brian and Sankar in The Prestigious Brotherhood of the Teal Shirt.” — dammit, Dr. Wizard apparently beat me to the punch.

  4. JMZ said, on September 30, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Picture 1. “My leopard-spotted fur coat is soft, but his silk shirt is so much softer!!!”

    Picture 2. “No, I don’t need an ashtray. Not when I’ve got this perfectly good napkin.”

  5. funktifiedacoustic said, on October 1, 2008 at 2:30 am

    #1 – “I’m woefully underdressed” thought Joe as he sipped his Dr. Pepper at IMSA’s Mathletics Formal.

    #2 – “I hope she doesn’t notice this is a candy cigarette.”

  6. UVA Mike said, on October 1, 2008 at 3:37 am

    1) Four rabid Oakland Raiders fans enjoy a quiet meal before painting themselves up for kickoff.

    2) When James smokes marijuana, his world instantly tilts 15 degrees to the left.

  7. Cooper Manning said, on October 1, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    1) Eating cafeteria pizza is always a tradition before doo-wop sensations Punjab and the One Season take the stage.

    2) Smoking Kool brand cigarettes gives Garett the necessary confidence he lacks to ask Darlene for a handy.

  8. MS said, on October 1, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Caption 1: Skyler leans ironically toward Richard McGillicuddy III while prom dates Mikey and Sarah pretend they’re not first cousins, but really he was just afraid of being cropped out of the picture…again.

    Caption 2: James watches in amused disbelief as Darlene prepares to satirize his smoke-ring demonstration by blowing pudding out her nose.

  9. Pasquo said, on October 3, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    2 – Darlene’s magnetic left breast instantly ionizes cigarette smoke, making it perfectly acceptable for James to light up in the cafeteria.

  10. […] “maple syrup post” refer to this alternate version, which can be accessed by clicking here. […]

  11. drwizard said, on November 11, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    For those of you following the twisting back alleys of Dr. Wizard’s Advice, you’ll quickly come to realize that my method for hiding new secret posts is to dump them onto old non-lesson post pages – so they don’t show up on the mainpage. As such, if you’re wondering what the above comments are all about, they are captions for the September Wrap-Up’s caption contest. You can see the pictures they accompany on the Dr. Wizard Facebook Group Page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: