Reaching at Leaves

While walking past all-so familiar store fronts during an early afternoon fall walk, I was pleasantly struck by a few descending leaves. One landed on my shoulder, two bounced off shuffling shoes on their way to their own off-day destinations. All reminders that fall had arrived.

A late straggler hung in the breeze. I followed it with my right hand – trying to grab it from its own fall goal. No success. It continually teased my grasp from a distance inches away. A thirty second dance pursued – between a leaf and a man – for a distance of three concrete squares on a sidewalk. Allegheny Street, possibly, never knew such awkward grace, or a twisted tapestry of steps. A leaf and a man. A dance.

For the rest of the day, I looked for opportunities to reach for leaves. Falling ones, especially. For there was no success earlier. That single, one leaf passing through my hand left a void. Its brothers and sisters across the town were waiting my passing, for sure.

Now, this wasn’t a primary goal. I had a to-do list that, initially, didn’t involve chasing after leaves. In reality, I would guess none of us get up expecting to be unexpectedly, graciously, grazed by falling leaves … like I did. These kind of wonderful happenings just, … well, … happen.

… and, I am so glad they do.

It had been months since I’ve written words here. When that one leaf fell beyond my reach, I was suddenly reminded how long it’s been – how “out of reach” this space has been – beyond my grasp, … my awareness, my front-of-mind.

We get so distracted. This is the centerpiece of sermons, books, and motivational talks. Stuff occupies our steps and our minds are ever busy with the next thing to do. Ignoring the essences of our lives – words and melodies making up our unique blend of individuality – seems to be the norm. And it shouldn’t be.

We need to constantly pay attention to the now – the magnificence of this moment.

Plan for the future. Hope for good things, of course. Have faith in what you can accomplish. Fold into your gifts.

I needed that particular partner the other day. It fell away not knowing, though.

Sometimes, what is valuable lands in our lives on a breeze and stays for only a brief time. Be that leaf for someone, perhaps, as they walk through life. Let them reach out to you as well. Maybe, just maybe, you will be a little beyond their grasp, but will make enough of an impact in their lives that their words will come alive again.

Say, “Hello” to a stranger. It could be the leaf they need to see fall before their very eyes. A reminder that life, now, is the most remarkable experiences one can have.

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