This afternoon I walked with my family along a leaf-soaked pathway in the forest. On the way back I fell behind on purpose because, as any mother can probably tell you, a reprieve from the children is necessary even if it's only for a minute.
All became still.
Except... to my left was one leaf at the end of a thin twig waving violently, as if calling for help. Why was this one so desperate for my attention? I plucked it gently and noticed a brown trail, perhaps from some insect or caterpillar, winding through its damp material, over and across the veins and off its zigzag edge.
When I brushed it against my lips, the cruel voices rolled and thrashed—voices that were really just myself.
You're kissing a leaf?!
Do it this way.
Quit smiling to yourself.
But as a bird sang I closed my eyes to shut them out. It was a very important leaf.