Honoring the Last Leaf of Autumn
10/18/2010 50 °F
The leaf, long before it fell, was a bud, a lush green protuberance on a maple tree. A pleasant life; swaying in the breeze, warm in the summer sun, a good view. Then came late September and early fall-colder temperatures, frosty nights, and loss of fluid. It dried, died and fell. Before doing so, the leaf read the secret writing on the Philosophers Stone and turned golden orange. The Leaf blossomed for a brief period, no more than two weeks of vibrancy. The leaf fell with his mates on a cool autumn afternoon. Humongous slabs of gray purple clouds loomed overhead with pale blue air surrounding them; islands in a sea of autumn sky. The wind which finally dislodged it was gusty all day, showing strength and ebbing, until it finally plucked it free. I didn’t see it fall. In my experience, the leaves that fall in late autumn descend with grace, making the most of their one and only flight. It made a perfect landing, gently and upright, on the tufts of green grass. It was perched higher than some of the other leaves-poor flyers, those. Waiting patiently, it was rewarded for the last time; catching the sunlight just right to highlight the vessels and veins, completing the cycle of life to death.