Our road points west from school, both sides lined with long rows of graceful maple trees. Their leaves rustle in the summer sun, turning gold and red as fall arrives. Students drive back and forth down the tree-lined avenue every day worrying about homework, sports and dating. The trees stand tall, decked in billowing colors, never changing.
Until one day in late fall when suddenly, without warning, all the leaves drop to the ground on one wondrous, cool day. Only the trees know the schedule. It’s a secret to everyone else. With synchronized precision on a they let every leaf go, carpeting the avenue with a golden red blanket. How do they all know to drop at the same time? It’s a mystery.
If you have ever tried to learn anything hard then you know how this goes. You practice clarinet for days and days, months and years with no seeming improvement. Then one day, without warning, you are invited to go to Washington, D.C., for the National Youth Orchestra. Or maybe you devote year after year to science classes, never quite sure if you’ll ever get anywhere. Suddenly, you are invited to work in the lab of the top researcher at your college. Years of nothing and then … everything.
If you are working at school or sports or any type of learning that never seems to get any better and seems to take forever – hang on. It takes more dedication than you think. And just when it seems that nothing will ever change – everything changes. All at once.