FALLING LEAVES, GENTLE DEATHS
Driving to school this morning, I passed through a corridor of old maple trees, and some of their golden leaves were slowly fluttering to the road. They floated with complete gracefulness and ease, and it occurred to me that I had never seen death depicted so serenely. For these leaves were all dead. They had slowly “passed away” over the last few weeks, and finally, this morning, they had severed their connection with the tree – with life – and now were drifting here and there across North Main Street on their way to their final resting place. It was death at its most peaceful – death the way I hope I meet my death, whatever form it may take. It seems to me that death – maybe even violent, sudden death -- could be a tranquil event, something that happens as gracefully as leaves fall or rivers flow or the sun drops down in the evening. After all, death is an intrinsic part of life; without dying, there would be no living. Death is the rich soil from which life sprouts and blossoms. It’s the soft, nourishing breast from which life takes its sustenance. Death is often hard on those left behind, but perhaps it doesn’t have to be hard on those who are dying. If I can prepare myself to accept and even embrace death as a natural development in the ever-flowing stream of life – just another easy bend in the river -- maybe, when my time comes, I can die as gently and placidly as the shining leaves I saw sailing above me this morning.