The last golden leaf is nearly ready to let go of the branch that it’s dangling from. Almost half way up the tree, far beyond the reach of any wingless two legged creature and a fair stretch for a lightweight squirrel, it waits. Wind whipped, fluttering brilliantly against a blue sky with sunlight glinting around its edges I had to contemplate this leaf. As if I were a solitary child on an empty playground with a golden kite. One of those special effects offered by nature if we’re paying attention. A moment that helps us perceive more than our immediate existence.
As I watched other leaves spinning outward and far away from her sister tree that seems to be just about one week behind when it comes to leaves, because these are of equal size. Twins, perhaps planted a week apart both standing guard, one on each side of the sidewalk that leads to the front of my rented apartment. I’ll be leaving this apartment of three years within two days. So maybe I’m in a sentimental mood and this reflects in the way I am looking at things.
These passing of moments…leaves, seasons, and new growth swelled up from the wells of my conscience. Observing my surroundings I took special note of where these thousands of leaves had gone. In several ways I was reminded of people. Some fall into the gutter, some fall on soft grass, others on hard dirt and rocks. And of course there are those leaves that travel a bit further ending up in the neighbors yard and garden. Just as theirs has mixed with mine. Some get left to time, others raked and composted, and others mowed down.
Then there are the few that stick out because they are different in color and shape, easier to see, and might I add…enjoy. Who doesn’t stop to pick up a red leaf among a group of golden. Or a yellow from a group of red. Out of all the leaves that end up within my yard there are always a few that have settled within the bushes and plants delaying the process of touching down. And even more that have been washed down the drains with all the rain we get this time of year. Free fallers all…swept up in time.
We know that all leaves decompose…the return cycle. Nature rules the leaf’s physical outcome and teaches us the spiritual.
The leaves I noticed the most were separate from the multitudes of gold, yellows and browns. The easily countable ones caught up inside the corners of the window frames or awnings within spiders webs.
These few leaves reminded me of what purgatory might be like. Or even one of us when we aren’t spiritually intact. Are some of us just one more leaf caught between the seasonal layers of time with nowhere to go until a great wind or storm comes along lifting us from a slowly decaying state and placing us within a different space to finish out our lifespan. Is there a storm for every soul caught inside the grip of that surprisingly delicate web.
I know this one golden leaf that hangs outside my window is like a newborn spirit waiting to be released into the unknown whirlwind of time, a different road with the same end objective to complete a process with a different intent than when it first sprouted last spring. It may float dancing and twirling and end up among a pile that will help the decomposing process. Or this leaf might float away in a river of rain water, or end up in a spider’s web.
Each of us starts like new growth, green or budding, going through changes until that moment when we let go of the tree. It is then that fate and time pay us our due. Yes, we are very much like leaves. Though a very few of us may become flowers and fruit. Or perhaps an acorn.
But the seeds that came before the trees… where did these come from?
The earth holds the process, the soil…the beyond holds the seed that comes our way through time endless. The distance and the length of that floating through space, as much as where we were and where we land holds the outcome…and each of us has a tree, a DNA that we come from. Each tree is a planet if you like to imagine, or a country…or a religion…or a color. Or a perhaps simply a talent.
But the spiritual belongs to everything…like the air that we breath.
So why do we argue about where we come from or what we believe? Or where we are going or want to live. On this Armistice Day I question our responses to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I saw one rich brown magnolia leaf swirling on the surface of a puddle of water between a group of soggy maple leaves.
I was reminded of Reverend Martin Luther King.
This reminds of Gandhi, and Mother Teresa…and many others that were Veterans of this world… surviving and helping others survive a different kind of war. Are we helping others through our actions? Or hindering?
I am so grateful for the many that have given their lives to make this world a better place to live. This includes al the Military that have lived with honor and those that have sacrificed with love. And I pray that all life is that…a gift to be cherished.