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As I look out my bedroom window,
as I watch the wind displace the leaves
as it gusts through the branches of the trees
and makes telephone cables
and power-lines sway from side to side with every blow,
as it seems as if every leaf is now well on the way
to changing colour for the season,
I look down to the street below
and I see a little boy riding his bike
on the pavement outside my house
wearing a big coat and a bobble-hat;
and instantly I feel a wave of something come over me,
as if the winds of time were blowing in unison
with the winds of the world outside, and taking me back
to a time, to an autumn day like this one, when I was a kid-
a time when I loved to play outside with my friends,
and my sister Clare,
and play a ‘catch me if you can-type of game’ called “tag”
in which I never minded being the one who was “it”.

I used to love riding my bike;
I used to love exploring the great place where I lived;
I used to love looking out my window
on a dark, rainy night, and being in awe of the sound of thunder,
and energized by the sight of a lightning-strike;
I used to love playing hide and seek-
and I swear no one could ever find me,
nor think of the right place where I was hid.

I had a very happy childhood;
I had everything a child could ever want;
I had so much love bestowed upon me,
and I was taught so many lessons and I learned so many skills
from my Mum and Dad- from appreciating the value
of the smallest of things, and the briefest of moments,
to the importance of hard work,
and knowing the best way to cut wood.

I remember smiling a lot when I was a child,
I remember laughing, creating, watching,
constantly asking questions, and learning from everyone,
I remember times when I used to sit quietly,
I remember times when I used to run wild,
I remember having so much fun.
I remember the good times, and the bad;
I remember the people I knew and who knew me who just suddenly died,
I remember the times when I had to say goodbye.
I remember all the times when I felt so happy
I thought my heart was going to explode;
I remember the tears that came after a fall,
and the times when I didn’t know what was going on,
and I felt sad.

The world has changed.
I have slowly, but surely, grown up.
The home I have known all my life
feels like a picture that is constantly being reframed.
I am outwardly very different from the boy I was-
from my shoe-size, to my likes and dislikes,
to my hair colour, and hair cut.
Inside I am still the same-
I feel and I know that, even now.
Inside I am under no illusion in my belief
that in everything I do, and to everyone I meet, I make a difference;
I don’t always know why, in what way, or how,
but I do feel, and I have always felt,
like everything that I was doing had a purpose and meant something-
even if I was writing a story, or painting a picture,
even as a child I knew that there was so much more to be seen
than could ever be seen, and that no matter the dark clouds
that sometimes swirled around above your head
there would always be something to have hope for,
that there is always a silver-lining to everything,
and that there would one day be a great,
beautiful, and bright future.

Looking at my own reflection in the glass of my window,
as the sun shines on my face,
I look into my own eyes-
the eyes that have seen thousands of sunrises,
the eyes that have seen so much beauty, hope, and inspiration,
in their time, and which have imprinted on them images
that I will take to the grave,
of sights and faces that nothing could ever erase.
I look at my own reflection,
and I see the boy that I was,
and the joy and the hope in his eyes, in my eyes;
I look at my own reflection, and I see the man who I am,
the boy who I am always going to be,
who still lives in the place, the house, the home,
with the memories he treasures,
and will always remember and return to,
in the middle house of three, on Fair field rise.

image

A gust of wind blew through the trees,
as I stood in my favourite forest
and watched a single leaf break-away from its branch,
and begin to fall to Earth.
As this lone leaf descended above me,
right in front of me, time appeared to freeze.
This leaf, for some reason, was now defying gravity itself-
its fall had somehow become interrupted-
it was now floating and turning in the air right in front of me,
as if I were witnessing a token of nature and the world’s unlimited wealth.
The rest of the world was a blur to me;
the leaf, however, I could see with impeccable clarity.
Everything felt like a dream, but this wasn’t a fantasy-
this was like another state of reality.
There wasn’t a sound to be heard,
and yet I thought that I could feel noise all around-
something that was keeping me on my feet,
but denying the leaf from finding the ground.
It was as if I was watching a magic trick,
but I knew that it wasn’t an illusion
orchestrated by a magician, nor a hallucination-
what I was experiencing was, I can only describe as being,
like a moment of regeneration-
and this leaf had chosen to sacrifice itself
so that this necessary change could take place;
this leaf was all life on Earth,
this leaf was the changing face of every Earth-born race.
The air was cold, but I felt like a warm flame-flickering lantern;
the trees were still, but the golden leaf continued to turn.

And then, the rest of the world came back into focus.
Another gust of wind blew through the forest,
the branches of the behemoths all around me swayed from side-to-side,
all the leaves from all the trees suddenly fell to Earth as-one-
as if the entire forest had cried.
Every golden leaf that had once been green
and had coloured these woods every shade of life imaginable
now spiralled down through the air to the floor- around me, on me;
however, there was one exception:
the leaf that had fallen first was the last to touch the Earth
that lay in waiting-
it fell, but it fell in its own time, at its own pace-
saying a long goodbye to an existence that it was forsaking.
I was tempted to put out my hand to stop the leaf from completing its journey,
but then I berated myself for such a thought
and I continued to watch the leaf spin for the last time,
and then settle on top of all the other leaves on the ground
that moments ago were high above me.

I looked down at the leaf, until I could no longer discern which leaf had fallen,
froze time, and fascinated me so intently;
and then I looked up again at the trees and branches
that were now bare and free of foliage,
and my mind and thoughts felt flooded, but clear,
and teaming with energy and peace-
like the water of the Great Barrier Reef.
My focus was now clear,
my foundations of life were now cemented.
I believe that I witnessed the beginning, the end,
and the beginning of another universe
that began in the time that it took
to watch the slow flight of a falling leaf.

'The Falling Leaf'

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