A leaf fell to the ground today. It had been feeling the chill in the air for some weeks and the last few nights of frost were just too much to bear. The life of this little leaf had been short, but wonderful. Back when the first few rays of warm spring sunlight hit its tiny shell, life sprang forth as it burst into the wide and wonderful world and unfurled for all to see. All through the summer it flipped and flopped in the breeze along with all of its friends as it used the sun’s rays to bring life to the tree. It was an amazing, statuesque, perfectly formed maple tree standing tall and wide just over the crest of a hill and looking over the windswept valley below. This little leaf had the best seat in the house out on the edge of the tree reaching out toward the open field.
As in every summer, there were some storms that came through. One in particular came up from the south with such force that the mighty maple bent and swayed violently in the wind, pelted with raindrops like tiny arrows. Many leaves were lost that day but this one, now fully grown, held on with all its might and made it through. There were other storms that summer but none quite so fierce and ferocious. There were also some sweltering days where the sun seemed to sap what life was available right out of the ground leaving little for the tree to soak up. It was hard to stand tall on these days and this leaf did wilt, but would not let go.
There came a time, late in the summer, when the sap became a little less sweet and less available. All of the new growth that began in the spring was now complete and the ends of the new branches were becoming sinewy and woody. Some of the leaves had taken on a faint red hue around their edges and this one leaf wasn’t far behind. The days were shorter and the nights were cooler and the other trees that could be seen in the valley below were dressed in shades of orange and yellow and copper. It was an amazing view! Another few nights of frost had used up what little strength the leaf had and the first cool breeze in the crisp morning air was enough to tug the bright red leaf off of its branch and send it fluttering down to the valley floor. There, blown along through the field till it rested against an old fallen log from a once majestic tree, the leaf with some of its companions would rest knowing they had done their part.
So it is with life – you are born, you grow, you live and die. You learn to crawl then walk and talk and soon you’re setting your course in the big wide world. You flutter on the breeze at times trying to find your footing and then lock arms with those around you when times get tough. You brave the heat of the moment and, when danger is past, sway gently in the cool of the evening as you reminisce about the storms that pass through. Everyone has a part to play, a song to sing, a story to write, a word to share…and the Good Lord knows who you are and where you are – yes, even you in that sea of leaves hanging on for dear life on that mighty maple.