The river is calm here. The current undetectable. Here he bobs–the old leaf. Waiting…wishing for something.
His journey to this spot was filled with challenges and turmoil, but also wonder and happiness.
Sprouting in the spring, weathering the storms, but growing into a broad beautiful, shade-giving specimen.
The caterpillars crawled upon his flesh and nipped at him, which he thought would bring about his demise until one day they hung from his branch, and soon sprouted into a lovely butterfly.
The butterfly floated and flittered in the air, unfettered. He wished he too could glide upon the air like that butterfly. He lived vicariously watching the colorful spotted creature as it winged its way to the flowers below to drink upon nectar he would never taste.
He found happiness when that butterfly would visit, caressing his gentle green, skin with its slender legs, shading him with her wings when the summer sun grew to hot, silently whispering to him about her adventures in the dark, inviting forest surrounding them.
He spent his summer gently blowing in the breeze. Enjoying rustling with his brothers and sisters, and cousins and friends in the neighboring trees. At night, he would gaze up at the stars, shivering in the cold, but relishing this view of the heavens above
He watched from on high, the violent rapids that crashed against the rocks on the river below. He watched as creatures visited that blue-green scar. Drinking in the life-giving water and splashing in the waves, emerging on the shore flinging droplets from their fur as they shook. He watched as they scampered happily back into the shade that he and his siblings provided from the punishing sun.
As the summer grew long, he became parched and weary. He had had enough of hanging around. Enough of watching others in the forest, free from their moorings enjoying life. His vibrant green color bang to fade. He longed for adventure, he longed to be that broad leaf once more sprouting and discovering the world around him.
The air began to cool and he noticed his siblings, cousins and friends changed their colors. Reds and yellows of all shades and hues. One-by-one, they began to detach and sail in the wind. Just like that butterfly from long ago, whatever happened to her?
As he himself became a dull yellow, he decided it was time…time to let go and experience adventure again. He let go of the safety of the stem, ready to sail on the wind.
He glided, happy as he had ever been. He whipped through the air screaming with joy. But unlike that butterfly, he could not flit back up to the branch. The flowers with their sweet nectar that once stood soaking up the sun were gone. Where did they go?
He splashed down in the river’s cold waters. He struggled not to be sucked into their furious waves. He was smashed against a rock. Slowly, with the help of those same waves, he peeled himself off and found himself enjoying the ride, looking from side to side enjoying the view, learning to avoid the rocks and stay upon the rapids.
Then he turned a bend around a boulder, congratulating himself for avoiding the collision.
He found himself in an eddy. Floating. Unable to return to the current. Here he bobbed. Looking back from where he had come. Wishing he could do it all again. Waiting for the next adventure, but knowing it would never come.
His limbs became water logged. He could feel the horror of the pull from below. He looked to the bank realizing that all his siblings and cousins and friends he had grown up with were now gone. As night fell, he looked up at the heavens for the last time, thankful for all he had seen. The water grew cold about him and he was frozen in time filled with happy memories and regrets, longing for the past yet hope for the future.