A thin, cold stream of air arrowed through the branches of the tree and the leaf shuddered under its chilling touch. He was holding with difficulty at the stick, a last remnant of a once glorious crown of greenery. All summer long, he and his brothers and sisters had gathered to feed and adorn the tree that had given them birth. But the winds that have blown days before left the tree almost barren.
The long rows of swallows, cranes and wild geese had taken away the warmth of the golden summer, daylight shrunk all of a sudden and by now, the sun felt like a distant star. October light still tasted like honey but the leaf has lost appetite. He found difficult to stand against the wind and by now he could hardly find a reason to hold on.
The lifestream of sap was slowly retracting inside the softer core, taking away with it the essence of the greenery, the chlorophyll. Devoid off it, the color of the leaves exploded in shades of blazing yellow, fiery red, burning crimson, deep wine-red or creamy amber. But this new beauty was in fact a farewell gift as each gush of wind took away handfuls of leaves, scattered them around, carrying them over hills and valleys. The body of the tree was growing colder and chilled from above, cooled from bellow, the leaf was growing increasingly weaker.
There were days when he remembered….the joy of the first ray of light in Spring, the delicate taste of the morning dew, the gurgling of the sap running up and down the huge column of the trunk, the soft rush of the other leaves under the fingering touch of the breeze. The leaf sighed inwardly and looked down to the branch where a new bud was sleeping and dreaming about the season that would bring him to life. It would be a moment of magic when the leathery brown cover will split under the first warm kiss of the sun and the new leaf would swirl and stretch, basking in the warm shower of light coming from above, while the sweet sap would fill the tiny arteries, igniting the new life.
“So beautiful….it was so beautiful…”-murmured the leaf, letting himself go. A fresh current of air carried him in a graceful dance over the large meadow below. Immersed in his thoughts, the leaf was unable to hear the last whisper of the tree:
“ Good bye, my faithful friend. I will miss you….”
The thin scar left by the falling leaf quickly closed with a waxy lid and the tree, relieved by his duty, slipped away into his Winter dream.
Deep in the field, the wind slowed above a spot of vivid green hill of moss and gently, lovingly placed the burning-red leaf in that nest. He left with a swoosh while the leaf was fading away with each moment….
-Mom! Mom! Look what I found! This is the most beautiful ever!
The little girl picked up the leaf with great excitement and ran to her mother, holding it up victoriously. The sun smiled in the skies and a small, ruffled cloud, with a sensitive heart, shed a few tears of rain….
Autumn was reigning over the land.