All that remained was one brown leaf with burnt red edges on a maple tree. It shook and waved and danced in the wind and I found myself feeling sorry for it. I imagined it knew it's life was coming to an end and by clinging to the branch, only delayed the inevitable.
The sunlight created a spotlight on this death watch. This leaf had watched as all the others had fallen. Every day the branches became increasingly bare. The odds of surviving the November winds became less because the other leaves weren't there to shield her. She was going to do this solo.
This one leaf with no emotion of its own generated so much sadness in me. I had no will to cheer for it. No belief in the last rally for the underdog. I stared at it knowing it's fate was certain but I couldn't look away either for fear of missing the final release.
The wind blew again and made the lone leaf tremble. It gave me a chill too so I pulled my sweater closer to my neck and shook the cold off my shoulders. With each passing moment the leaf seemed darker. Why wouldn't the wind have mercy and just rip the leaf away and end it already? It just flipped and twisted and taunted the two of us. One on the ground, one on the branch, waiting for the passing of time. Waiting for the end.
There hadn't been enough time. It's new, green life only began in late April. How many summer days had passed when the backyard was full of life, green was everywhere, birds were singing and the garden was buzzing with energy. I never spent anytime worrying about the end of that one leaf. She and all her neighbors on the branch effortlessly swayed together to provide the refreshing shade on a hot afternoon. I didn't think it would end as soon as it has. It didn't occur to me as I watched the colors in leaves bleed and burn. They were beautiful. Every red and orange shade the eye could see. There's beauty in this phase of life, so I forgot that it was Stage 4.
Then our days blew into busier weeks and the lives of us here on the ground were tied to commitments, the holidays and wrapping up the year. The loss of so many leaves became a nuisance rather than a blessing. Raking up the leaves and shoving them into bags, we skipped right over the part where we jump in them, throw them above our heads, let them fall like dry rain all over us as we laugh and giggle. We smell like the earth when we decide it's time to go inside.
I stare at this one shaking leaf and whisper, "I'm sorry you have to go." My throat gets that scratchy, burning feeling when I'm trying to prevent emotion but it's a useless battle. The leaf shudders and whips against another burst of wind and she's gone. I watch her coast until the breeze stops suddenly and she falls between the root of the tree that let her go and the edge of the garden she shaded this summer. With my gloved hand, I wiped away a tear and called myself a fool.
Seeds to Share:
Romans 14:8 - If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.