Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One Leaf

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Duncan and I spent a long moment this morning watching a single leaf, a brown and brittle hunchbacked thing as big as my palm with the fingers curled inward liked the hooked legs of a spider or a crab, crawl across the sidewalk. It moved slowly, taking tentative steps until the wind caught it and hurried it along at an awkward gallop. The Cottonwoods have been slow to change, as they were slow to bud last Spring, and just a week ago I remarked to Brady that it was almost as though they were the last of Summer's celebrants, still so green with full, tree-bound leaves swaying in the wind, a gentle chorus, so unlike clamor that accompanies the slightest shiver from all those who have fallen and scuttle and crunch underfoot each time they stir. Now, though, they are nearly bare, enormous clenched hands, rising dark against the blueness of the sky.

I have spent our afternoon walks trudging through the leaves, dragging my feet through them, making the most of their voices, taking what little joy there is to be had in their bodies, driving them before me like waves and dolphins before a ship. But watching that one leaf crab-walking across the sidewalk reminded me that there is life in even those things for which we have little use and are busy forgetting. It's walk and rush were feral and alien, but I stood transfixed and remembered that quote from American Beauty, the one I have used so often here: "[It] was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever."

Sometimes it's difficult to find the joy in this season, but if we remember that life does not end, that death and Autumn are an illusion, we can find great comfort in its beauty. Duncan knows this. He finds joy in every patch of grass, every twig and cast-off branch, every gust of wind, carrying the scents and flavors of the world to him. It's in watching his joy and delight in this suddenly barren world that I rediscover my own.

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3 comments:

Cheryl said...

Joy of the seasons. Dunc knows how to make it all seem so inviting.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are welcome and wonderful gifts.
Thank you so much.

C-pup and her human

Louisette said...

Greeting from Belgium Louisette+2 miss golden , Zitablue du Bosquet Mignon and Primrose 's Dream Cerise