Thursday, November 26, 2009

Leaves of Life

I was on a walk. With ipod in and walking shoes on, the smooth cement path sent me through a tunnel of autumn trees and I was thinking. Thinking about the recent deaths around me, no one I was really close with but the sheer number of those who had passed threw me into a contemplative mood.

Then I thought about the trees lining my right and my left and I smiled as the sun danced on the multi-colored leaves and the wind whipped them to and fro. Suddenly, my two thoughts merged—was it the music? My mood? I don’t know but I looked at the tree directly ahead of me and I saw life, colorful leaves and strong roots… then I saw death, leaves snatched by the wind and swaying to the ground. These leaves became human lives and this gave me a whole new perspective of my outdoor venture. My eyes captured one, lone, brown leaf making its way down to its death, and it made me sad. I thought… somewhere, someone is dying, their life, like a weathered and worn leaf has left its peak, green stage and has ended. How sad the other leaves must be, those who had been a part of his branch, they watch him fall and can do nothing to stop the inevitable. But they moved on, living, swaying—even if lonely.

My horizon expanded and I saw from my periphery all the hundreds of leaves falling; it was overwhelming. Each one of them representing a life in my eyes, some were torn away before their due time because of a gust of wind and some falling—seemingly on their own free will. My heart was very heavy, witnessing all the deaths around me, knowing that this is happening around the world. Some trees I realized were so bare, war torn and empty—I thought for a brief moment about the countries in which many lives are lost, in such a mass quantity. Why, when there was such a full tree to its immediate right? And what is the significance of a single leaf, if it can be taken in a moment to join the pile of the dead?

A gust from behind quickened my steps forward for a moment and I realized something. I am a leaf. Never was I more aware of the unpredictability and power of the Wind, nor the frailness of my own body. I felt that at any moment I might be swept away. Suddenly every breath was precious to me, the fact that my feet were moving was a gift, my sight a blessing and the autumn smell seemed so rich. Life is worth living, worth enjoying, not because this is our destiny… to wave in the wind as a frail leaf, it is worth living because we were not created to be leaves at all. We live in a tent now, but soon, maybe sooner than we hope, you could be offered a home.