One Leaf's Journey

The leaf now flutters slowly, erratically,
like a wounded butterfly, downward, downward,
until it lights on the water’s surface ever so gently,
beginning a tortuous journey leading seaward.

It floats along in the little brook’s unhurried flow,
warmed by the early morning sun, circumstances serene.
For hours the leaf has drifted calmly, encountering no
hazard, when its brook merges into a larger stream.

The pace now quickens; the leaf is hurried along.
Plop, plop, plop…rain, which soon becomes a torrent.
The leaf is getting wet - surface as underside. Before long
it rides low in the ruffled water. Eventually, the storm is spent,

rain replaced with sunshine to dry off its wet waxy topside.
The stream flows briskly, carrying the leaf many miles.
Upon its delivery into a river - a river so mighty and wide,
the leaf is swept along in the raging current, past piles

of debris, protruding rocks, amidst the flotsam rushing
toward the sea, riding the current’s waves’ valleys and peaks,
hour after hour, mile upon mile, quite doggedly navigating
the course, until battered and broken, it finally wearily sinks.

What a ride! What a journey - so marvelous and magnificent!
Yet, did the other leaves care? Did the tree even notice what
its leaf accomplished? What value to the forest did it represent?
What say you of the journey of one leaf: matters or matters not?

Harry Edward Gilleland      09.02.02