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Definition of DECIDUOUS

: falling off or shed seasonally or at a certain stage of development in the life cycle <deciduous leaves><deciduous scales>

: having deciduous parts <maples, birches, and other deciduous trees> b : having the dominant plants deciduous <a deciduous forest>

: ephemeral

— de·cid·u·ous·ness noun Examples of DECIDUOUS
  1. the bare branches of a deciduous tree in winter
  2. he chose not to fret about the deciduous discomforts of his existence


Latin deciduus, from decidere to fall off, from de- + cadereto fall — more at chance

First Known Use: 1688


A few years ago I chose deciduous as my word of the year. (I always used to chose a word of the year. I have not chosen one for a few years. I am not sure why.) Deciduous still resonates with me. I still think about the letting go of thoughts, feelings, habits, and pounds. I still think about the natural rhythm of life that I have learned during my 40 plus years on this earth, even though I now live in a place where leaves don’t fall from trees in the same way.

I remember the tree in the park in which I used to run in Cincinnati. Like my tree in the park that stands on her strong trunk and extends her bare branches after her leaves have fallen, I am learning about my core needs and desires. I am learning that a piece of shedding means learning what to keep. What sustains. What inspires. What fuels. Living a life that is more about creating our better selves than about fear, anger, weight, and cynicism. It boils down to daily choices.

I have been thinking about how there are seasons to life. Times that are about a deep breath, and times that require full steam. Times that are about being a writer, a wife, a daughter, a researcher, a yogi, a runner, an aunt, a sister, a volunteer, and a friend. I am beginning to understand we all have seasons to our lives, personal histories, and multiple identities. The only constant is change. Embracing change taps into the courageous parts of me that dare greatly. 

The word deciduous is meaningful to me now for new reasons. Deciduous means honesty required to embrace our true selves. Deciduous means whole hearted celebration of growth. Deciduous means looking at falling leaves and bare limbs as a beginning, where we are not bound by mistakes, wounds, or failure.

What does fall mean to you? Does this time of the year have special significance in your life?Would you miss the seasons if you lived in a place where the seasons are not marked by different colors and temperatures? 

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