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What the Leaf Doesn’t Know

By Myrna Williamson

Outside a second floor bedroom window

I see part of the canopy of a magnificent oak tree,

Many, many years old,

Here perhaps before the old house was built.

A single leaf attracts me swaying in the breeze,

Sometimes touched by the sun’s rays,

All its many companions arrayed around it.

The little leaf is part of a twig, which is part of a branch,

Which is part of one sinewy arm among many,

All swaying in the wind and dappled by sunlight.

And the living tree is also part of something larger,

Literally rooted below and spreading out above.

It derives nourishment from earth, water and air.

In turn, the tree roots the earth and moderates the wind.

And releases oxygen to the atmosphere.

And in the fall—by their fall—the leaves

Provide even more nourishment to tree and earth.

Each leaf lives its life and serves its purpose,

Then withers and dies in so short a time,

Unable to imagine it was part of something so large,

That the tree only survives by the presence of every leaf.

What the leaf doesn’t know, nor does the tree,

What they are not aware of and awake to,

Is the invisible, continual sharing,

The giving of work and taking of needs,

A communion between everything,

That which is called living as well as that which is not.

Would it make a difference if the leaf knew?

Perhaps not to the leaf.

But when I am aware of and awake to all my connections,

It makes a big difference to me.

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