I’m a wild green leaf

I’m a wild green leaf up high blowing in the wind. I have well-defined veins and the water of life flows gently through me now. Pulsing and singing. When I was growing, it hurt as the flow pushed its way through, bursting me into fullness, vivid greenness; and in my fragility I am easily torn, could catch a disease. White mould forming on my surface after rains. I’m OK now. Don’t fret.

It’s so bright up here where the movement is; blue open above me all day long forever. I bask.

Now I am jostled and pawed, brushed past, bumped and cuddled. I’m not alone: my leafy friends and family are all firmly attached here. I hear it’s a twig where we belong. It’s here that brings us food, comfort, stability. I stay here when it’s dark, when the stars shine, when the moon brightens. I stay here when it blows, rains, thunders, and the bright bakes me. Here is where I belong.

One day I see there are other twigs with their family of leaves. Many up here as we are; to the side of us and below me, so many twigs. I am excited and frightened, curious and anxious. Some darker, some lighter, some smaller, some bigger. Some to the side, upside down, upright and leaning. Some broken, some greener, some browner. Some dead, clutched together in dried up silence still rustling.

We have visitors from other regions. Beings that move from twig to twig, not attached like us. They make mischief. They bring things, leave things behind. They have lines and sticky clusters, webs and baskets. Sometimes they eat my friends, my sisters, one brother. There is mystery. Some come in hoards; others singles; some, to help; others, to use what we offer. They all have names, and some are kind. Spider is my closest friend with her magical threads, hanging fairy lights in the morning to dry in the breezes.

And here I am still. And after there is something new. It is of us but not like us. Browner, shiny, rough, small then bigger. Attached like me but not so. Acorn I am told not leaf, but still family. From another dimension they hold the mystery of birth and life itself: full of secrets. I whisper in reverence of Acorn in gratitude for her coming. I see other Acorn like this amongst twigs up here. And in a single day everything changes. Sharp, black claws. Big open caves, black tongues and shadows, shadows more frightening than the brown of death. Swooping. Stealing. Many Acorn all gone, pecked right off. Others falling, sacrificed. We are blessed. Our Acorn holds on. Survives somehow. Hiding as she is behind me.

And then the Cold Blowing comes. I have heard the whispered talk of this. I see my curling edges. I feel the brown coming on, seeping through me, taking me to the edge of being. And I am tumbling.

As I fall I can see now that it’s not just twigs. Oh my wondrous life. There are huge branches here of twigs, leaves, Acorns. And what is this mighty thing? I hear gentle deep laughter than seems to vibrate my every cell.

Why I am your Grandmother Trunk, little Leaf. I am at the centre. Through me life flows; wisdom; knowledge. We support many worlds. We are the timeless Oak.

I find myself bump on the bottom as far as I can go. I look up and see my brothers and sisters falling around me. All my friends are here. And Grandmother is pointing with a branch so that I turn and see – What is that?

That’s your Mother and Aunty Oak over there, laughs passing Spider, and there’s Nana Beech, Cousins Ash and Birch, and Godmother Sycamore in this Grove.

I am overwhelmed. I feel Awe. All this time I believed my world up top was all there was, and now I find that I was teeny-tiny among many living here with Grandmother, and now you’re telling me there are others? More Mothers, Aunties? More Grandmothers?

I die a thousand deaths of life and worms come and drag me down and down further into decay. I weep for the leafy green of yesterday. For my lost Acorn. Was the light false? Was I mistaken? I sleep.

A buzzing awakes me. I peep up and above. I feel a breeziness. See a faint glow. And Oh What Pain of Life is this pushing, pulsing through me with full green? Here’s Rain and Light. Here’s Grandmother Spider. She is smiling at my wonder and forget-fullness.

Looks like you hitched a ride my Little Leafy One. From last to first this time, eh? she whispers in my ear as she flies past.

What is this place? I ask, And what am I doing here?

I hear a distant rumble of gentle laughter.

Story courtesy of the Oak Tree, Deep Dale woods.