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Questioning the Leaves

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Leaves fall slowly ever so slowly from the branches of the trees gently falling caressing the
air as they fall the leaves are falling. Orange motes in a swirling mass of atmosphere the leaves are leaving winter is coming they cannot stay. Each morning frost clings to the leaves on the trees the leaves on the ground the leaves blowing in the breeze blowing in the breeze collecting in clumps on driveways roads roofs. Where has the summer gone? Who can say? Will it return? Only God knows. Leaves underfoot crackle and disappear into dust the dust that blows everywhere and anywhere away over the rooftops. Where does the dust go? Do dust bunnies collect it? Do dust bunnies love their dust? What is love? Is lovability in the nature of an object, intrinsic and inherent? Is the ability to love something we posses at birth or do we learn it? Do trees learn to love their leaves? Do they mourn when the frost comes and robs them of their majestic splendor? I do not know you do not know together we do not know. What is the nature of togetherness? Why do humans seek after community? Do leaves feel the same kinship with their fellow leaves that we feel with our fellow man? While loving our brethren we humans are capable of atrocious inhumanities. Leaves do not starve each other leaves do not persecute or harm their fellows leaves do not hold each other in bonds of cruelty or poverty leaves do not kill or maim each other. Why do humans do these things? We care so much more for our fellow man than the leaves of the earth could ever care for their comrades and yet and yet. What is it about our humanness that renders us capable and even willing to be so inhuman? Can we be considered humans if we are inhuman to others? How can a person be human and inhuman at once all together? Can leaves be plants and animals at the same time? Of course not. Why are we who are so often inhuman called humans? Is humanity merely a condition of the mind? Or is it perhaps a feeling in the soul? Or yet again is humanity simply a deluded illusion of a capriciously inhuman race? Why are humans inhuman? Why, why, why, why why why whywhywhy? Are we inherently inhuman just as leaves are inherently photoautotrophic? Are we a cruel race because we lack the connection to nature leaves necessarily have? Are we too far removed from our bestial surroundings? Are we mindless robots mechanically going through the motions of a meaningless life? Or is it because we lack the greatest virtue, the ability to love? Perhaps inhumanity is the physical manifestation of a loveless race, a people that has forgotten how to love. What is love? What does the word mean? Is love physical or spiritual? Is it mental emotional passionate? Is it all of them? Is it none of them? Are humans the only creatures capable of love? Can leaves love? Do leaves love the trees they live on? Do leaves grieve as much as trees when they must depart from the twig? Trees grieve for the leaves they have loved all summer and leaves grieve for the life they have led the life that is over. The leaves’ time is ended and their lifespan shortens as the days grow colder and the sun sets earlier. They die and in dying fall. The trees may grieve but they live on. The life of a leaf is brief, a short flash in the life of the tree. Do the trees grieve? Can the leaves feel? We humans grieve feel love live. We grieve with the trees when the leaves begin to fall. We are inhuman in our grieving selfishly joining the trees in their mourning. The trees mourn a life they have loved we mourn the summer days we have lived the summer days that are ending. Summer will return the leaves will not. The tree grows new leaves but does it miss the ones it had? Do leaves have personalities? Do trees have favorite leaves? Do they like leaves with spunk confidence kindness gentility? Are leaves capable of having spunk? Have I ever stepped on a spunky leaf ending its spunky life? Our lives are like leaves: short, a speck on the earth, an insignificant dust mote. Does nature mourn when we leave the earth and enter into the afterlife? Does the earth remember our lives? Does nature notice? Does nature feel? Why do humans feel when leaves cannot? Is it because humans are capable of thinking and reasoning? If we are capable of reasoning what is the reason behind cruelty poverty oppression? If humans think why do they think they can mistreat others? How are humans any better than leaves? Too often we use these powers of thinking and reasoning to harm others. If we are so much more intelligent that falling leaves why cannot we live in peace and harmony with each other regardless of color race creed? Leaves do not struggle with each other leaves do not discriminate based on color green red orange yellow purple they all fall. All humans die yet each of us must construct artificial barriers to keep ourselves isolated and above others. Leaves live together in the communities we humans secretly crave leaves are not overly ambitious or corrupt leaves do not harm the tree that gives them life or the sun that gives them food. Why do we humans hurt everyone and everything around us? Why is it easiest to hurt those closest to us those we love and cherish the most? Struggle war death fire insanity. And still the leaves fall just the same ever falling never changing falling fall the leaves. Orange leaves falling in a blue sky blue and orange orange and blue. Blue mind blue memories someone else’s memories. Blue blue bluer than blueness the blue of a summer sky reflected in the depths of a crystal lake. Reflected at me reflecting the sky the Eyes loom closer closer close. Down I fall through the eyes into a darkened room —eyes—magic—basilisk—statues— The room is lovely dark and deep. That phrase echoes in my mind it is someone else’s words. But who? Ah of course it was Frost Robert Frost. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. / But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep.” I do have a promise to keep —eyes—smile—money—promise— A smile a word I am jerked from behind those Eyes cruelly awoken from my silent reverie. Money left my hands cold crisp heavy. Coins that clank and clatter bills that crinkle and fold. Swish Eyes turning cloth brushes my hand. Thock thock thock Eyes moving away vanishing in the masses of humanity that crowded the filthy streets —eyes—fading—gone—where— Walking my shoes move. My foot crunch crushes a little withered brown leaf. What once was whole becomes a thousand pieces in an instant. Pieces scattering in the wind whirling everywhere scattering like my thoughts whirling like my soul. Eyes did this to me, chased away my reason and sense. Eyes loom in my mind drawing me closer again to that room hidden behind them. The room…what did it truly contain? —eyes—blue—dark—lovely— A series of meaningless images passes through my mind I cannot remember what the room looks like my mind is like a sieve water water running through holes holes in my brain watery thoughts water reflecting the sky in those Eyes. Eyes! Haunting Eyes so full of life —eyes—live—laugh—love— Gone gone who knows where? The Eyes are only in my mind. Only in my mind? Eyes fill me I am cool. Cool like the depths of the crystal lake reflecting the sky in the eyes. I step in a puddle the water splashes up my leg coldness creeps into my bones cold water cold thoughts cold icy snow stone cold. Brrrrrr…Shivering keeps you warm I shiver. The puddle is as cold as Eyes when I asked —No I want money— Gone nowhere to be found. I am depressed cold depressed. Perhaps there really was ice in the Eyes reflecting the ice in the heart. Oh Eyes! The Eyes that were bluer than blue, blue like a summer sky reflected in the depths of a bottomless lake. Blue like the sky silhouetting the orange leaves falling from the branches of the trees blue sky filled with orange leaves orange leaves falling like long-lost love letters. Perhaps trees send leaves to the earth, send a message with their leaves. Do trees feel love? Do leaves like being messengers? Does the earth love the trees in return? Trees are part of earth and earth has trees. What do those love letters say? Do trees have anything to say? Love letters falling from the trees love letters unwritten love letters in thought love letters in word love letters in deed love letters from trees: I remember long ago when I first knew you I was young then younger than I am now the woods were beautiful that day so long ago as I traversed the sunlit trails I opened my heart to the woods I felt the birds singing in the trees and the deer gliding through the shadows unseen and the wind rustling in the leaves and the brooks babbling in the sun I felt each creature and plant as I had felt them so many times before but I also felt you I did not know who or what you where then can you imagine that beloved? and I felt a tug on my heart I came to the woods many more times in my seedhood then I did not know quite what drew me to the lush greenery of this forest when any field would serve just as well but now I know I was seeking you I never found you there again beloved as I grew into a tree I searched for you everywhere so long ago was the memory of you that I had almost forgotten what I searched for many years later I found you beloved you were there all along there where I looked the least my heart called and your heart answered you long as I do for the quiet and peace of the forest I will take you home I have found you I know you you are earth.
Brave leaves carrying the message. Sally forth leaves! Sound the message the message of the trees the message of knowingness. Do leaves know they carry the message? Do leaves know what the message means? Is there a message or are the leaves making it up? Do the trees know what the leaves are up to? Naughty leaves telling lies poetic leaves telling stories. The stories leaves could tell! Day in and day out night and noon morning and evening dawn and dusk all are chronicled in the bark of the tree all are seen by the ever-present leaves. Can leaves communicate with each other? Do leaves in Vermont know what leaves in Florida saw? Do palm trees even have leaves? Do leaves love to gossip? They must not no spiteful fights ever break out between two rival leaves. Are leaves even capable of being rivals? Do they argue over who can perform photosynthesis faster or who can open their stomata wider? Leaves never hurt each other they must not argue. But do they debate? Do they have cordial discourses on who is the best the Holly King or the Oak King? Do leaves support those most similar to themselves? Are leaves speciesists? Do all oak leaves side with the Oak King? Do all holly leaves back the Holly King? Who do the rest of the leaves support? Never never do species riots happen in the leaf kingdom. Why do they happen among humans? Leaves do not lynch each other just for being a different species or color. Why do we? Leaves mysterious leaves. Peaceful prosperous clever leaves falling far from trees. Leaves leaves everywhere.



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This article has 6 comments. Post your own!

bubj98 said...
Nov. 14, 2010 at 11:22 am:
great.beautiful.amazing.i loved this.all the questions connected allowing the subject to change in a wonderful transition.i hope you can check out my work.i always have more things so try to come often.
 
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sillyaardvarkabc said...
Dec. 19, 2009 at 6:54 pm:
This was amazing. I love your style of writing, the way you describe everything. Your questions are things that I never even considered but now do, with tons of interest. My favorite part was when you said, "Have I ever stepped on a spunky leaf ending it's spunky life?" Just wow. <3
 
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unearthlyhaphazard said...
Jul. 21, 2009 at 12:58 am:
I love it, I really do. It's just . . . You describe life in such a short space, that's something only a true author can do. Beautiful, amazing, fantabulous job. Keep it up! I look forward to reading more by you.
 
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Zero_Kiryu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 20, 2009 at 10:00 pm:
This is amazing and thought-provoking. It's makes me think of a Killers song called Human. "Are we human, or are we denser?" <(o.0)>
ZERO
 
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bookworm:) This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 20, 2009 at 9:52 pm:
Excellent comparisons and love the way you write! But I had to keep a dictionary with me when I was reading. Might want to tone done vocabulary.Great piece of work!!!
 
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gdusicka said...
Jan. 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm:
Excellent piece of writing. Makes me think of a great quote in reference to the Holocaust. "When the Holocaust was happening, people asked "where is God?" But really the question should have been "Where was man?". Humans' capacity for cruelty is staggering and we can learn much from what we suppose to be true about leaves.
 
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