Photographs and story by Penny Wilkes
Lewie the leaf’s adventure began as a green shoot that grew from a branch. After sparking through summer, he started to feel different. He turned crimson. Those near him bloomed from an orange to yellow.
“What’s up?” he wondered. Lewie noticed leaves from other trees fly into the air and twirl to the ground. They collected in gutters, lawns and on the street in piles.
Lewie didn’t want to leave his branch. He loved the birds who sang and hopped around him. His favorite robin would peck at insects to keep them from biting into him.
One day the robin said, “You’ll fall soon.”
“No, I like it on my branch,” replied Lewie
October eased in. With a chill in the air, wind moved other leaves to the ground.
Lewie stuck tight.
“You know,” said the robin, “you could become evergreen and not have to fall when winter arrives.”
Lewie looked at the shine on the pine needles and thought about it.
“I could fly you over to the park by the river. You’d become mulch. Then you’d nurture and move up into the pine needles,” the robin said.
Lewie shivered in uncertainty, “I’m not sure.”
“Come on, Lewie. See the little sapling over by the river. I’ll help robin add leaves,” said the squirrel.
Lewie was not convinced. “How do you know this can happen?”
The robin fluffed at her feathers. “I have watched the process many times.”
“It’s true, Lewie,” said the heron.
When December rolled around, frost startled Lewie. He shivered and could feel an opening on his branch. He struggled to stay attached.
“It’s about time,” the robin said. “No other leaves have stayed. They all want to change.”
Lewie did not answer, using all his power to stay stuck on his branch.
The rains came heavy that night. Only one tendril of Lewie’s leaf stem stuck.
The robin flew by and alighted above his branch. “I’ll fly you over now.”
Lewie agreed and wriggled until he began to spiral. The breeze felt good.
“Dance, Lewie. Dance.” The robin picked him up in her beak and flew him to the sapling.
Lewie sat close to the base and spoke to the tree. “I’m here to become a pine needle.”
When snow arrived, Lewie turned brown and slept cozy as a bear all winter.
By spring, bird song rose and the robin appeared. Lewie was nowhere in sight. Robin called and heard his voice echo from deep beneath the earth.
April arrived and he had climbed his way back up to begin shooting out green.
“You were right, robin,” Lewie said. “I love the new me. What fun to stay green.”
Penny Wilkes, served as a science editor, travel and nature writer and columnist. An award-winning writer and poet, she has published a collection of short stories, Seven Smooth Stones. Her published poetry collections include: Whispers from the Land, In Spite of War, and Flying Lessons. Her Blog on The Write Life features life skills, creativity, and writing: http://penjaminswriteway.blogspot.com/ . Her photoblog is @: http://feathersandfigments.blogspot.com/
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