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Richard Crowson: A Lesson In Harmony From A Cottonwood

Crowson self portrait_8.jpg

There’s no way I could not take a walk this morning. Aside from the intensive lobbying of my Airedale friend Ollie, the blue Kansas sky and ruby leaves of our pin oaks overpowered me. So I hitched Ollie to the leash and out we went, fully engulfed in another splendid crispy November autumn morning.

And of all things, my mind turned toward the election results. I’m not very politically conservative and you’d think by now I’d be used to losing out in our very red state of Kansas. It’s hard to hear the word “fall” without thinking of how most of the candidates I voted for fell like cottonwood leaves in a forceful prairie wind.

Well, Ollie got a scent of some intriguing creature and was determined to make me wait a bit while he nosed around in the light brown grasses. As we both get older I’m getting more indulgent of his olfactory obsessions. Let him sniff to his heart’s content. There was a gloriously golden-leaved cottonwood right there above us. So I sat down.

The rhythmic spurts of wind were making the leaves rustle in that gentle way that only cottonwoods and maybe aspens can do. A few yellow leaves fluttered down around us. The wind was huffing leaves to the ground and yet the tree’s rustling sound reminded me a little bit of applause. It was as if it was welcoming, encouraging, even applauding the very wind that took its leaves.

A little lesson in harmony for me from a cottonwood. Welcoming the present moment no matter what it brings.

Ollie was ready to move on and I got up and joined him. He kicked up his heels like a puppy for a moment and I kicked through a pile of beautiful leaves like when I was five years old. It’s a wonderful fall in Kansas.

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.