The Leaves Among Us

The Leaves Among Us
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Fall has set in, and the leaves around us provide a colorful daily show as we creep out into the world. The endless pelting of falling acorns constantly startles. Is the roof caving in? Is someone banging on our front door? How many acorns can there possibly be up there?

But as the days go by, the torrent of tiny, wooden, earth-seeking divebombs seems to subside, and the neighborhood is rife with the next disturbance: the quietude-stealing leaf blowers. What an invention, and what a ruse: How can it be, with all our technological advances, that this screaming machine is our best answer to electric raking?

Eventually, the fall’s noises are overtaken by the woodpecker next door with an odd affinity for my neighbor’s UNC birdhouse. The blue jays dart in near silence from twig to twig, and the chipmunks crunch furiously on the now crispy fallen leaves. The irritant and accelerant noises of early fall begin to ease their way into the past and become last week’s news.

While our road trips are now often confined to shuffles from the kitchen to the living room, thanks to this short travel distance, we now see references to “Hamilton” nearly every hour of the day. Most of the lyrics fit the fall season particularly well, with a phrase or word for each falling leaf.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote these simple yet elegant words eloquently: “Look at where you are / Look at where you started / The fact that you’re alive is a miracle …” (From “That Would Be Enough.”) For all of us in the bleeding disorders family, no truer words have been written to date; it is our story.

These turns of phrase bring us back to the abundance of fall and the breadth of wisdom that abounds in the bleeding disorders community. Like the hues of newly turned leaves, our keepers of knowledge come in many forms: moms, dads, kids, aunts, and uncles that recount their family stories, neighbors and friends flung far across the globe, volunteers who serve their local communities at food banks and school events, and people that run for municipal, state, and federal offices.

They are the leaves that guide and show us a path full of miracles. It’s not just about the beginning or the end, it’s about the stories created on the journey. Look at where we started — and look at where we are. They show us that visibility and voice are essential for change: in treatment, in solutions, in creative thinking.

It is not enough to marvel at the splendor of the leaves around us as we are each part of the ecosystem that both nurtures and potentially harms us. Every leaf has a story, but to know and share it, we must document each step of the journey. The leaf’s story is not just that it grows in the spring and tumbles in the fall. If we overlook the in-betweens, our own care suffers, as does that of our community.

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Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.

Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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Ann is an English professor and freelance writer with strong ties to the bleeding disorders community. She believes that advocacy is an essential skill for all connected to rare diseases; and that together, we have the power to impact and lead change by sharing our individual and collective stories, whether to meet personal needs with our medical providers or through involvement in policy work and legislation.
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