As soon as it dropped from the tree it seemed to fly like a drone above me painting an invisible elliptical shape in the clear blue sky, and then forced by the November breeze it flew right back towards me and touched me gently on the head, then slipped quietly and innocently to the ground. I rubbed my head where it had made contact and glared at it as it lay motionless - pretending as if it knew nothing about prancing in the air. It now lay fashionably on the cool grass, the slender stem bent gracefully, its proud wrinkled face looking up at the sky, there was no sign of remorse - its tiny edges quivering slightly in the fall wind.
A dead leaf. The biggest I had ever seen in my life.
“I have lived a full life – a full summer” announced the leaf. I was wondering how the leaf was able to talk. Was the leaf really talking or was this my imagination playing tricks with me again?! I could not be sure so I decided to play along.
“What do you mean – you have lived a full life?” I asked.
“I have seen blue skies, rolling meadows, warm winds, a brilliant summer full of sunshine, I have seen the beautiful sights that are to be seen and heard the soothing music that is to be heard – even that rare silent music in my ears after every drop of rain” said the leaf.
“Blue skies…warm winds…silent music…so you think that is what is meant by living a full life…?” I prodded in jest.
“When I was young and green - I was in love with a grasshopper…it had big compound eyes and strong hind legs, it could have shred me to bits and gobbled me up if it wanted, bit it didn't...it let me live my full life...” confessed the leaf, now almost whispering.
“What…but that is strictly not allowed – you are from the plant kingdom, right…how could you have been in love with one from the animal kingdom? I asked incredulously.
“Love knows no boundaries. I once loved the shadow of a flower…but you won’t understand that. You are too human - too restricted with your senses” replied the leaf.
“You fell in love with a mere shadow of a flower?” I had to ask.
“Yes – you can fall in love with a shadow…I never saw the flower itself because it was on the other side but I used to wait for the long shadow of the flower to appear and dance in front of me as the sun came up each morning. Everything has a shadow…some are visible to the human eyes and some are not. Where there is a form of light – there are shadows. You pass by those dark glass panes, you look at your shadow and recognize yourself…you check your hair and your makeup! At that moment you and your shadow are one and the same” said the leaf.
“You must be joking – I have never heard such meaningless banter” I retorted getting nervous that this conversation was clearly headed in the wrong direction.
But the leaf carried on: “One day you will decay and decompose just like me. First the carrion flies will come and lay their eggs inside your nose, mouth and ears. Then the bacteria shall take over leading to putrefaction. Then your skin will rupture and decay. The larvae of flies shall consume your soft tissues. Only your bones shall remain. Then mice and rodents will gnaw on your bones to get the calcium...”.
“I clearly don’t follow what you are saying. This is too heavy for me. I should never have listened to your nonsense…I am so sorry for this dark conversation” I cried aloud in great frustration.
The leaf quietly said “What are you complaining about – be grateful…be thankful…I am already dead but you are still alive! Enjoy every moment – while it lasts!”
I was still shaking my head when the leaf flew in the wind and disappeared. It was a rough moment to reckon with but precious nevertheless.
I thought you would want to see a moral of the blog so here it is:
Happy living each moment of life – and a very happy thanksgiving to all!