Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Leaf

When in the prior Musing I wrote "the power is in my hands" I immediately thought of this leaf.

Monday while on a morning walk, I noticed the leaf as it made it's way earthward. It spiraled through the air before landing nearby. I paused aware I was the only person around to witness its falling. I was the only person around to witness the delicate dance it did upon letting go. At times the way the light touched it, it looked like brown taffeta.

I felt compelled to pick it up and take it with me, to contemplate it and allow it a last walk. Immediately I noticed it's veins, revealing a tree within the leaf as well as tiny spots of green.

In Fall, we anticipate yellow, orange and red covering Tennessee's hillsides especially when the rains, sun and a sudden cold snap coincide just right. We don't look forward to brown leaves, yet this leaf to me in all its brownness was and is beautiful.

Yes, I still, now three days later have the leaf. I temporarily misplaced it and felt horrible for having taken it out of nature to begin with. This is one of my well intentioned but sometimes bad habits - collecting feathers, shells and leaves that move me only to keep them longer than I need before returning them to their home outside. (The one I feel worst about is the huge gray ocean rock I brought home on the plane years ago from Big Sur. Although he sits outside, my landlocked Nashville home is a far cry from the Pacific. I smile at the thought of returning him.)

So before returning the leaf to its proper home, the earth, I hold it one more time. Tears come to my eyes. With times passage, the leaf is brittle but still beautiful. The tree shaped veins are even more noticeable.

My eyes well up as associations flood me. I want to do my part to love the trees and their leaves. We are intertwined. I want to appreciate beauty always in my life, especially nature's beauty. And for some reason I think of my grandparents all gone now from this world, but my grandmothers especially loving nature. They led quite lives, one passed suddenly and one prolonged in a nursing home. I think often lately of the untended wisdom that dies with each passing generation. We are intertwined. This little leaf reminds me to appreciate the living and the dead, not only in nature but on my own family tree. This little leaf reminds me of what I miss even in the leaves by unconsciously labeling the brightly colored ones the 'good' ones and dismissing those that choose brown for their final coat of color. This little leaf reminds me that awareness will never be a lost art in my life as long as I remember to notice and listen. For this I am very grateful.
-Dawn Kirk, "The Good News Muse"

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