I dreamt I was standing in a forest. The foliage snapping , cracking beneath my bare feet as I stood there in my PJs. The atmosphere felt magical. Dream like. Rays of sunshine shooting through the branches, beams of soft light and glimmering tiny particles through the dark shade. The sky between the tree line was hazy. Leaving it difficult for me to literally see the forest through the trees. Foggy as the clouds met the earth. A chill was in the air. A subtle shift, but enough to feel. Enough to notice. Enough to sightly shiver in my pajamas.
The season just beginning to change. The leaves softly morphing from a vivid green to a paler amber. Not quite dried, yet just beginning to turn.
A leaf barely dangled before me. Narrowly hanging from a limb. As if floating, yet attached by an iridescent thread that sparkles in just the right angel of light. A spider web? A fiber? Like it has been released but still managing to cling to the bark before falling to its near future. Being shedded from the trunk. Only one last hair thin strand grasping to what it once belonged to but no longer does. Representing an end to its once life. I find myself feeling a sadness at its circumstance in this dream. Witnessing its end.
I approach the leave as it sways and twirls in mid air as if flowing to a melody only nature can hear.
“What would you have to tell me?” I ask in my mind to this swinging leaf.
A gust of wind blows through, spinning the leaf swiftly in circles by its thin thread in the brisk, cool breeze.
The leaf sways silently as the other attached leaves bustle on the branch. Then, it suddenly detaches, floating softly toward the covered ground where my feet stand on top the many leaves that have fallen before it. There padding the earth as if protecting it or cradling its fall. I reach my hand out and the leaf lands on my palm before cascading to the ground.
I wonder in my mind again what this piece of plant had to say if it could. Imagining every living thing has something to say as it nears the end of its life.
Knowing it once was part of this giant tree. Once a bud, starting anew. Beginning its blossoming into a vibrant leaf surrounded by a cluster of others. Being a unit. Resting in the sun, dancing in the wind, becoming a part of this branch.
Another gust of wind blew against my back, through my hair and along my palm. Giving the leaf a small burst of movement as I watched it.
I wonder again to myself as I hold it in my hand, "Were you wanting to hang on or were you choosing to let go?"
The leaf finally answered, “I am doing neither while embracing both."
Aware I am in a dream, I find myself comfortable continuing a conversation with this dying herb.
"What does that mean?" I ask under the thin rays of sun shining between the limbs.
"I have lived, but my life is not over just because I have been released from the tree. It has only changed. Not ended." said the leaf calmly.
"So you wanted to fall?"I ask again.
"I trust where I'll land." Says the leaf.
"What if someone like me innocently comes along and steps on you as you lie on the ground?" I ask.
"Then, I will now become something else." Answers the leaf. "I will become brittle. I will crack. Splinter off into many different pieces. Small enough to now fit into places and become things I wouldn't have been able before I broke."
"Did you like your time on the tree?" I ask it.
"Oh, yes. It was wonderful." Spoke the leaf. " We helped life. We created shade. We fed birds with the insects we attracted, animals with the nuts that shared our branch. We held cocoons and chrysalises for the worms and caterpillars that wished to transform. The squirrels and chipmunks played and wrestled within us. We watched ants march in unity preparing for winter. We saw happiness, necessity. We were part of it. Over and over. From the children that played below us, the fox that buried beneath our trunk and the owl that guarded above our branch. In the heat, we created shade. In the rain we created shelter, in the cold, we created warmth.
"So, you are sad it's over?" I asked.
"It isn't over. " said the leaf. "It has only begun to change. With change comes new purpose. Different value. But value all the same. I can now be a part of nests. Witnessing the same life up close with every hatch. I can become burrows and nestled against every eve. I will cradle young. I will feel the softness of fur rest against me. I will see a first breath instead of only hear it. I will be taken into and see the intriquinsies of an ant hill. I will still be a part of it. Over and over. It is an end. But it is also just a beginning. A beginning I could not recognize had I not first lived on the branch. But my purpose is not yet done. Only changing to something different. But important all the same.
"But you dangled from the branch. Were you scared to fall? Or getting ready to let go?" I ask it.
"I am neither while acknowledging both. I am grateful it all has happened." Said the leaf. "What I am is because of what I have been. What I have been has prepared me for what I will become. My time on the branch, the view I had while dangling from the limb to see all that will welcome me, my trusting the fall and landing in your palm to share my world all serve my purpose. "
So, you both hang on and let go?" I ask to clarify.
"I do neither, while embracing both. I trust." Whispered the leaf.
"Did I interfere by catching you? " I ask it wondering if I was keeping it from its near future.
"There are no mistakes in nature." Said the leaf. "Things happen and then nature evolves with it. The seasons will change, I will change with them." Answered the leaf. " My time on the branch may be over, but my time in the tree and within the soil has only just begun. It is not my job to know what lies ahead, only to be present and welcome the next stage."
I smile at the leaf's wise words and ask, "Where shall I place you?"
"Just release. I will land where the wind takes me." Answered the leaf.
I slowly raised my hand into a beam of sunshine, surrounded by soft glimmer, just as another gust of wind blew the leaf from my palm, carrying both into the fog and among the sun rays. Into the magic of the glimmer, to wherever it is meant to blossom into something new.
As it vanished into the clouds, my eyes opened. My head resting on my pillow. My body tucked in the warm sheets of my soft bed. Feeling the slightest change in the autumn weather against the skin on my face. The slightest chill in the air. A subtle shift, but enough to feel. Enough to notice. Enough to sightly shiver in my pajamas. I looked outside of the window, into the morning light. The sky outside was hazy. Foggy as the clouds met the earth. The season was changing. I thought of the leaf and its words in my dream. Envisioning it blowing somewhere through the forest. I laid there with both a gratitude and a curiosity of my dream and of what the day would bring. I thought about the seasons change and how I will change with it. I laid there with a wonderment of where the wind would take me today. And feeling a trust I would land wherever I was supposed to.