The Fall colors were not spectacular. The reds and burgundy trees were noticeably absent from the Instagram feed of Minnesota photographer, Jordan Powers (@jrdnpwrs). Come on; this is fall, and the vibrant colors should either make my eyes bleed or my brain weary from processing the mass of color. I commented that the photos reminded me of 1970s landscape paintings. All I remember were lots of yellow trees.
His photos stuck with me because they revealed a beauty I was not expecting.
The tree colors are also muted in the Washington DC region this year. I went out for a walk in the woods this weekend to enjoy the sunny skies and brisk temperature. The woodlands were painted every hue of yellow and gold.
As much as I watched for the bright red shades, I found myself appreciating the beautiful diversity of subtle colors. If the bright colors were there, I would have primarily focused on them and missed the other 95%.
Appreciating diversity can be like an oblivious trip through the autumn forest. I meet the woman from a seemingly strange land, and I concentrate on our noticeable differences like the hijab, skin color, or language. I miss our subtle similarities; her dreams, fears, relationships and worries about parents or children, or things that make her laugh.
Only noticing the brightly colored trees of her looks, I will miss the beauty that resides in the rest of the forest. If I dare talk for long, I will find more in common at a base human level, than ever imagined.
How much more, is the case for the neighbor or co-worker that have grown-up in our same region of the world. There will always be the stark differences or areas of disagreement. The choice is to embrace both the rich and subtle beauty of the humans around us or reject the entirety.
Going Further: When have you been patient long enough to appreciate the subtleties of someone different than you? How have you applied those lessons learned? What would be the global impact if this perspective was widely adopted? How can you use this mindset as the holiday's approach?