I grow. I extend. I start in the spring as the tiniest bud. Summer greets, warm. I curled. I crumpled as the days became shorter. A brisk wind unsettled me from the branches and I floated down. I became immersed with the others like me. Frosted water weighted down over my veins and I dissolved. I became one with the earth.
They returned. On a hot, humid day in late May. I watch the couple, this time surrounded by others. A sweet, gray mist is scattered over me. They leave fresh-cut flowers – lilacs and irises – on the sturdy bench. They tie ribbons to the firm branch of the tree.
Everyone leaves, except the couple. I can see their feet, reluctant. I hear the words “Why are we here again?” Strained.
As a fallen leaf, I can see my brothers and sisters above, making space on the tree in the new season. They rustle in the breeze, while I am still on the ground. But it is only a season, and then they will join me in returning to the earth.