Fallen Leaves

When I was younger I sat beneath a tree
With my head against the trunk I looked up and saw a world of color
Some colors so common as to almost drown out the others
But some, hidden gems as they were, briefly revealed themselves in the crisp, dawn breeze
But which was my favorite?
I scanned the canopy, top to bottom, left to right
And quickly locked my gaze onto a favorite, hanging on a low branch near my head
Golden from petiole to tip, not a single sign of decay
The perfect fall leaf!
Its perfection danced in the wind until it broke loose and drifted to the ground
Saddened, but not deterred I quickly found its replacement
Just a little higher up, reflecting the late morning sun
It’s bright orange blade with just a touch of decay, brought a different kind of joy
This one held on for a touch longer before floating to the ground next to the other
As my shadow grew small, the day’s warmth stirred up a steady gust
One by one the remaining leaves began to tumble past my head
Only then did I notice their beauty, each in its own unique way
Ways that only a few hours earlier cast my eye away
In a rush, I scoured the tree for one with a stronger grip
But they continued to fall, landing next to their counterparts
As the crows came to roost over a distant hill and the wind grew still, so did I
I stood examining bare branches that were once so burdened with color mere hours earlier
And I turned towards home when the day’s last breath moved over the tree
An unexpected movement at the top of the tree caught my eye and caused me to pause
Two leaves waved violently until one broke free from its perch, leaving alone the other
Glowing red in the fading evening light, it held my gaze towards the tree
Seen only for a second as the sun rose, now it stood alone at the crest as night fell
The last leaf of fall