The little veins, like tiny river beds, sprawled symmetrically across the worn surface of the old leaf. But a season old, he had lived to the ripe age of three months. Starting as the littlest bud on the littlest branch, he began to stretch and spread his arms before the warm rays of the sun, like a newborn waking from a nap with a yawn. His surface saturated with a most vibrant hue of green. He could feel within himself the currents of life – a community of growth networked so artfully with the earth below him. He was aware of his brothers and sisters all around him, as the warmth of the summer breeze encouraged them to dance and play together. The days were long and simple. The nights were cool and serene. He would make friends with the fireflies who would often rest upon his shoulders, or huddle beneath his strong arms during a light rain.
It grew quite warm and dry. By now he was the broadest and brightest of his brothers. He could see his impressive shadow on the ground below him. However, as the nights grew cooler and the days grew shorter, he could tell his colour was slowly fading. His skin was drying, and the very fingers of his surface began to crack and curl a little. The warm rays of the sun were always a welcome encouragement when he could get them, but he was getting so tired. The rains he used to thank for washing him, now felt like a beating, and the wind he and his sisters would dance to felt an incredible burden he was unsure how he could much longer bear.
He looked beneath his feet and saw his familiar friend, the branch. They had grown very close these short months together. Starting almost twig-like and soft, he had grown thick and strong – his rigid bark a constant source of comfort to the leaf. The worn old leaf smiled in his heart to know his fast friend was still quite young and would continue on for seasons and season to come.
But now was the time for falling.
He had seen many of his friends leave the branch. It was always so terrifying when he was younger – to surrender to the mercy of the wind, and to embark on that fateful adventure to the unknown. But now his tired arms and shoulders seemed to welcome the idea of being carried on the wings of nature – to a place he had never been – to a place that promised rest. With a tender acknowledgment, he bid the branch farewell, and as his old friend faded from view above him, he folded his grey arms across his chest and danced with the wind one last time.