Are you to serve / a bigger purpose with your resistance?
(© 2008 Alice Popkorn, CC BY 2.0; graphic design by Sarah Hickok)
What makes a leaf, a single leaf, cling to
a barren winter-swept tree on a cool
rainy day in late February? Its fellow
friends having fallen months before with
winter’s first blast, swept away and
forgotten. O leaf, why do you cling so,
lonely on a branch,
clinging, vainly, foolishly,
not knowing when it is time
to let go?
Do you know something we don’t?
Is your destiny to be surrounded
by friends again when warmth and glow
return to the world? Are you to serve
a bigger purpose with your resistance
to the way things are or should be?
Or . . . can you just not let go, understanding
your time has come?
Agency, serendipity, resistance, complacency.
We’ll never know why that lone leaf clings so,
why other lone leaves on other trees
share mutual experiences all alone.
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Ian Hochberg, a member of the UU Congregation of Fairfax in Oakton, Virginia, is an upper school Latin teacher.