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Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Two Leaves

Felix Salten, author of Bambi, wrote a piece on love from his reverent appreciation for the natural world. Love, not of first or impulsive or maternal or romantic love, but of the deep, soul-nurturing love that can only come from friendship and time's passage.

The Two Leaves

The leaves were falling from the great oak at the meadow's edge. They were falling from all the trees.

One branch of the oak reached high above the others and stretched far out over the meadow. Two leaves clung to the very tip.

"It isn't the way it used to be," said one leaf to the other.

"No," the other leaf answered. "So many of us have fallen off tonight, we're almost the only ones left on our branch."

"You never know who's going to go next," said the first leaf.

"Even when it was warm and the sun shone, a storm or a cloudburst would come sometimes and many leaves were torn off, though they were still young. You never know who's going to go next."

"The sun seldom shines now," sighed the second leaf. "and when it does it gives no warmth. We must have warmth again."

"Can it be true," said the first leaf, "can it really be true, that others come to take our places when we're gone and after them still others, and more and more?"

"It is really true," whispered the second leaf. "We can't even begin to imagine it, it's beyond our powers."

"It makes me very sad," added the first leaf.

They were silent for a while. Then the first leaf said quietly to herself, "Why must we fall...?"

The second leaf asked, "What happens to us when we have fallen?"

"We sink down..."

"What is under us?"

The first leaf answered, "I don't know, some say one thing, some another, but nobody knows."

The second leaf asked, "Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we're down there?"

The first leaf answered, "Who knows? Not one of all those down there has ever come back to tell us about it."

They were silent again. Then the first leaf said tenderly to the other, "Don't worry so much about it, you're trembling."

"That's nothing," the second leaf answered, "I tremble at the least thing now. I don't feel so sure of my hold as I used to."

"Let's not talk anymore about such things," said the first leaf.

The other replied, "No, we'll let be. But-what else shall we talk about?" She was silent and when on after a little while. "Which of us will go first?"

"There's still plenty of time to worry about that," the other leaf assured her. "Let's remember how beautiful it was, how wonderful. When the sun came out and shone so warmly that we thought we'd burst with life. Do you remember? And the morning dew, and the mild and splendid nights."

"Now the nights are dreadful," the second leaf complained, "and there is no end to them."

"We shouldn't complain," said the first leaf gently. "We've outlived many, many others."

"Have I changed much?" asked the second leaf shyly but determinedly.

"Not in the least," the first leaf assured her. "You only think so because I've gotten to be so yellow and ugly. But it's different in your case."

"You're fooling me," the second leaf said.

"No, really," the first leaf exclaimed eagerly, "believe me, you're as lovely as the day you were born. Here and there may be a little yellow spot but it's hardly noticeable and only makes you handsomer, believe me."

"Thanks," whispered the second leaf, quite touched. "I don't believe you, not altogether, but I thank you because you are so kind, you've always been so kind to me. I'm just beginning to understand how kind you are."

"Hush," said the other leaf, and kept silent herself for she was too troubled to talk anymore.

Then they were both silent. Hours passed.

A moist wind blew cold and hostile, through the treetops.

"Ah, now," said the second leaf, "I..." Then her voice broke off. She was torn from her place and spun down.

Winter had come.

10 comments:

the walking man said...

OK Laura you win. That was lovely.

I also put up my favorite love poem by another poet today. It is by far the most romantic thing I have ever read.

Marilyn Brant said...

I read this quickly earlier tonight and it's still haunting me...beautiful piece. Thanks for passing it along to us.

Vesper said...

This is so quiet, so sad, so incredibly beautiful... Thank you.
xoxoxo

Sandra Ferguson said...

What an excellent analogy! I will need to save this one and read it again and again.

Clover Autrey said...

There's a lot of quiet wisdom in that. Thanks, Laura.

Regina Richards said...

Very moving.

"Even when it was warm and the sun shone, a storm or a cloudburst would come sometimes and many leaves were torn off, though they were still young."

I attended the funeral of a friend's son this week, so these lines were particularly poignant to me.

Angi Morgan said...

How beautiful and calming.
~~Angi

misa ramirez said...

Haunting. I love the simple language and imagery.

L.A. Mitchell said...

@wm-I enjoyed it as a video on your site. I think I'm an old soul, but there was something haunting about it. Hope your V-day was happy :)

@Marilyn-You're welcome. It's hard to find fresh romance stuff that hasn't been done a million times before.

@Vesper-any other language but simple would have been an injustice, right? I agree. XO

@Sandra, Clover, Angi--so glad you liked it. I can totally see Bambi in this, can't you?

@Regina-I'm so sorry. I'm glad the piece spoke to you. My best to his family.

@Misa-me, too. Thanks for stopping by :)

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