Like a Leaf









Walk around feeling like a leaf. Know you could tumble any second.
Then decide what to do with your time.
Naomi Shihab Nye







We have had three weeks of delightfully temperate weather — days in the 70’s, nights cooling to the 50’s, gentle breezes which at times gust and shake the foliage and fruit from branches.

It feels a bit like autumn in July, with leaves loosening from tree branches, tumbling to the ground two months early. Our annual July family gathering is coming up soon, but without an older generation of birthdays to celebrate as in previous years: the last of our family elders passed on two months ago. The inevitable shifting and sifting of generations is keenly felt; we middle aged folk now bounce grandchildren on our laps rather than our own children.   The last fifteen years have changed much in our family tree.

I feel badly for the trees parting with their leaves too soon.  I am sad our family has parted with our elders before we’re ready.

I am no longer invulnerable, seemingly protected by a veneer of youth and vigor.   Located high in the canopy of branches, I may wave bravely in the breezes, dew glistening like sweat on my skin, feeling the sun on my back and the raindrops running off my leafy shoulders.   Yet my grip is loosening, slowly, surely.  My color is subtly fading.  My edges are starting to fray, and there may be a hole rent here or there.  Yes, I am feeling more and more leaf-like, knowing how far I could fall any time.

That knowledge makes all the difference.   I hang on ever more tightly while I can.

This is no time to waste.





2 thoughts on “Like a Leaf

  1. Amen! This feeling seems to be part of the aging, the letting go, process. Our dwindling physical strength or less sharp mental acuity may be telling us to slow down, let the younger generation take over.
    They will take over, carry on, in due time, of course. However, There is the thought that the Spirit has instilled in us that instinct to ‘keep going’. Because: We still have the ability, the mutual need, to contribute to those who may need attention and caring and to those in our family and community who will follow us. There could be work for us yet to do that only we can do — unknown to us now, but He will present it to us in His time.
    Then there is the very important task – the final gift to our family – that of recording family history, photos, oral and video taped interviews, etc. that will become more precious to our children and grandchildren as the years pass and they create to their own history. That sense of continuity will instill in them a deep understanding of their heritage, their place in all that has gone before and is still to come.


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