April 17, 2008
By Heather Palmer, Easton, PA

A leaf, growing in silent green life. All the same o’er the whole tree, perfect in pristine beauty. Slowly, as time passes, the leaves grow apart, grow different. Reds, oranges, browns, yellows…all a different part of the same pattern. Taking a chance, they break off from the tree from which they are born, leaving silent understanding for swirling wind and idea. Buffeted along by a supple breeze, they explore the world through which they float, as is their nature. This breeze can only last so long. As time passes, the breeze grows stronger, into a gale-force wind of unimaginable strength. The leaf flies along this new path, ripping and tearing through the stormy air. Unlike any other journey, this wind cannot be stopped, and the leaf can only watch in silent horror and delight at the course that it has taken. Upon making the decision to break away, it had flung itself into a hurricane that it could never imagine encountering. The leaf acquires gashes in its tender flesh, and sometimes, entire pieces are ripped away by the relentless wind that carries it. However, the leaf is grateful for this terrifying wind, for when it finally reaches the ground, it finds itself filled to the brim with something that no leaf staying on the tree could ever have. For this leaf has truly lived, seeing not only bad, but also wonderful things that exist only to those who look for them. Completely worn out, saturated in memories and happiness, it gazes upward. There, the leaf sees, on a tall tree above him, a single brown leaf, fluttering in the wind. He calls to it, knowing that it will never hear him, for the choice that must be made, must be made alone.

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