A Life in Leaves

Today I spent some time raking leaves up on the property to fulfill barter hours for housing. The leaves moved easily, like tissue paper, and crackled against one another with each stroke of the rake. Even at 8:30 in the morning the sun was hot enough for a cotton t-shirt, as most of North Carolina had record high temperatures today. I worked slowly but with focus. I know enough about raking to understand that a haphazard job can lead to over-raking and wasted time and labor (verb OH-VER-RAYK: unnecessary obsession with unnatural perfection, Ex. When five acres is raked end-to-end, for example, instead of just the perimeters of buildings and major trails.)

But beneath nature’s first gift-wrapping of crisp leaves, beneath the semi-damp older leaves, but before the dark chocolate brown soil, lay an elegant blend of natural stink, comprised of decayed leaves and sundry forest parts. It occurred to me this layer could be my life, or all our lives for that matter. We reside somewhere between the past (the soil, or matter that has already been decomposed) and the future (those tissue-paper leaves that await the sun as it spreads light across the valley). Our work is deep and dark and always alive, churning, becoming something other than it is from one moment to the next.

From one moment to the next we are not who we think we were, and neither are our neighbors and friends. This is not an ominous predicament, rather, it is the finest teaching daily life has to offer. I push and strive and stretch and bend and try to form a truth out of each day. But when all the water has boiled away, and only the salt of life remains, what I feel is in indefinable stream of the inbetween, the composting muck of our efforts continuously unfurling into new lives, new forms, new ways of being in the world.

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