Saturday, November 14, 2009

Autumn Leaves

The weather is changing now in Korea. Days are longer and colder, but the radical weather shifts make dressing impossible. The morning bitter and freezing and the afternoon warm enough for a T-shirt.

I feel drained by the changing temperatures, the changing sun schedule, the changing leaves. All that change seems tiresome, and I have my own changes to deal with. At the moment I’m looking at changing jobs, changing my apartment, potentially changing countries, eventually changing everything I’ve been doing for eight years. And I have to wonder where all that change is going and what all that change is going to get me.

I find thinking about all of that draining as well. So I try not to think about it at all, but then I find myself utterly lost in those moments of most minute change.

I am walking down the street and the wind whips up in front of me. It picks up leaves and debris and detritus and lifts it all into the air. The little wind spins itself into a small cyclone for a moment and then disappears and the flotilla, suddenly without it support, drops, falls, crashes to earth, abandoned. There it lies to be trampled upon by passers-by, to crack and crumble and become nothing under the feet of us on the sidewalk, or under the uncaring and unforgiving wheel of a car that scoots along the street.

There is a lone leaf, red in color, and it finds a new draft and gets picked up again, to repeat the only ritual it has now. It is no longer a living thing, it has died, past on, but it still a part of the makeup of the season it will serve its purpose later as the mulch that will allow new seasons to renew. But here, now, it is nothing but debris to be tossed about at the whim of a fickle wind. It makes not choices, it has no decisions, it means nothing.

I watch the red leaf fall again as the wind dies. It moves down the street faster than I do. I want to catch up with it, to run to meet it, to pass it somehow. Part of me wants to grab it, keep it, put it in my pocket and keep it from being whatever it is that it could someday become. I want to hold onto that moment and prevent the change.

With the leaf in my had I might stop time. I might be able to capture and contain and keep it all from happening. Maybe it is just the attraction of having all that power. Regardless of how much of an illusion it actually is.

It’s close to six and the sun is low on the horizon; the leaf moves on, joins other leaves, flies away. I walk into the twilight toward home.

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