It is easy for us to talk about leaves collectively. How we hear them when the air collaborates to produce breeze. We watch them together as they dance with a limb’s sway. Their unity is what we notice in how rapidly they move back and forth from where they hang. Perhaps like stepping on to the sidewalk of a crowded city. Or stepping past the sea of sun bathers adorning the sandy beach.
How often do we pause to notice a single leaf? How that single leaf is also moved by the air stream? If it was a person walking towards us, would we make eye contact? Or would we put our eyes down to the ground until they have passed? What if it was a person in line in front of us who momentarily turned to look our way? Would we look back with eyes seeking the kindness in their face? Or would we glance at the time instead, thinking I have places to be today? Or perhaps we would be wearing our coat of judgment noticing what this person appears not to be. Or perhaps the coat zipped so tight, this person we don’t even see.
If you look back at that stranger do you look for laugh lines, stress lines, or old age? Or do you think ah, there is much wisdom in that gentle face? Do you look for any blemishes or sun spots comparing their skin to your own? Or do you think with admiration what a beautiful skin tone? Where do your eyes travel to when you notice a small scar across their cheek? Do you look past it uncomfortably or do you compassionately ponder their story? And, what about the face that looks “perfect” for all outward visibility. Do you think lucky individual or does that inner whisper respect there may be imperfection in hiding?
We can walk into a crowded room and listen to the sound of everyone speaking. Much like the collective chorus of leaves rustling. The sounds we hear may determine if we stay or if we leave. Do we feel the atmosphere chaotic or do we feel at peace? Perhaps like being amidst the trees on a windy day? Do we ever think it is too windy outside to stay? Yet, what if we narrowed our focus and paused to look more closely?
What beautiful single leaves might we hear and see?