Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Trail of Leaves

My plants are a barometer of melancholy. It's during the times I fancy myself fighting off torture in the pit of despair or stumbling blindly through the fire swamp that my plants lose their luster, start to turn yellow from lack of water, and slowly start dropping their leaves in defiance, marking the path of their imminent demise. My one plant has been through this with me time after time. Like some of my friends, she gets less resilient to the low periods and seems to show the stress quicker and react more forcefully. Every day she is telling me that if I don't snap out of this soon, she will be naked and far beyond the point of no return.

She and I watched as the stand of scrub oak in the back yard put on a spectacular fall show of brilliant yellow and then dropped all their leaves in one afternoon exposing the gnarled gray branches like arthritic fingers beneath. We watched, transfixed, as it happened, willing the leaves to just hold on for a while--begging them fervently to delay that dark and cold winter for a few more weeks.

It's time, they said. It's just the natural cycle of life and our hope of spring lies deep within us and is just as unstoppable.

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