A story from the point of view of a leaf's life
|Everything is more complicated when you look deeper. The animals have different body parts. Each body part has millions of furs. Each fur is made of millions of cells, and each cell is made of...whatever cells are made of.
This is the story of my life and death.
I'm just a single leaf. If I was picked off and died, it wouldn't make a difference to the mother tree. I'm unimportant by myself. I'm just a slave.
I was born in the spring of 2007, when the mother tree pushed us out of her branches. I remember the light of the day, shining brightly on my skin. I was born with only one purpose: To give life to the mother tree.
In return, she harvested the life from the ground and fed us. We relied on each other to live: her, our mother, and us, her children. It made me think I was actually important to her.
The days grew long and hot and human children came to the tree. She gave them shade from the burning sun, and in return they tore off her branches and played with them. Yet the mother tree was patient with them. No matter how many of us they tore from her grasp and cast onto the ground, she stayed upright for them. The wind blew gently, and with it came the whispers. Only the dead and gone know what the whispers mean, the mother tree told us.
Then the days shortened, and clouds covered the sun. The mother tree, which we had helped for so long, didn't need us anymore. She stopped feeding us.
That's what we were.
We were her humble servants, and when she required no more of us, she left us to die.
I was disgusted.
And I'm sure I wasn't the only one.
Now I understood why she was so patient when the humans took us away.
The only children the mother cared about were her seeds and the human children. We were just tools, and we had played our part willingly.
One by one, our beautiful green skin turned to the colors of red, orange, and yellow. I was an orange leaf, clinging for life on the branch of my mother. The winds blew, tearing us from her grasp. One by one, we became shriveled and hard.
I was one of the last to fall. The wind blew, pulling me away, and the branch shook. I cried out as, at last, I fell, spiraling towards the ground.
We were the toys of the wind. The wind sent me spinning around and around the mother tree, like a never-ending dance. It sent me spinning through the air, laughing at my clumsiness. The wind played with us, until it grew tired of our dancing.
When I was finally set down, the children came again. The swept us into large piles, and crushed us underneath them, unable to hear our cries. Several of my brothers were crushed into flakes, left to blow away. I was lucky to remain whole.
One day, they climbed the mother tree and broke her branches, once again. It was then she lost patience with them, tearing off her limbs, sending them crashing to the ground, pinning them underneath her severed arms.
More humans came. I remember bright lights, not the lights of the sun, but different colors. I remember tears. The humans gouged at the mother tree's trunk, felled her, killed her. She figured out what it was like to be betrayed. They carried her away, leaving only a cold, hard stump where she had been. I don't think any of us were sorry to see her leave.
Then the wind grew cold, and snow fell from the sky, covering us like dirt covering a coffin. We mixed with the soil of the earth, slowly becoming something different.
I was under the roots of one of the seeds from the mother tree. It grew and sprouted leaves, and one by one, we were fed to them.
Millions of us, screaming to be heard, and they still couldn't understand what we were saying.
Have you ever heard the whispering of leaves and grass?
That's not the leaves.
That's not the grass.
We're trapped in an endless cycle of life and death, and there's nothing we can do about it.
Everything is more complicated when you look deeper.
Everything, even humans, whither and die.
They become a part of us.
And no one can hear their screams.