Fallen leaves and impermanence


A clipart picture of fallen leaves

Raking leaves in my yard yesterday I had two diverse experiences—a backache and an umpteenth realization how unsparing, detached and impermanent nature is. Few things so gently remind one of impermanence as falling/fallen leaves.

I would much rather rake in some cash but since money does not grow on trees and leaves do and they also fall, the latter is by far the more achievable goal.

Fallen leaves tell us how utilitarian and unsentimental nature is. Their job done, they are shed without any fanfare. Dead leaves pile up on each other and there is no one around to perform their last rites. They get raked with quiet brutality even as some of them get jammed in the rake’s teeth. They get pushed to the curbside to be sucked up by waste management trucks.

Leaves take birth individually but in death they are hauled up together, practically smashed into each other. One can barely tell them apart or from which branches they might have fallen. Some of them may have dropped from the pinnacle of the tree but most from the middle and bottom.

If you have raked leaves, you would know that oftentimes the rake’s teeth get entangled in grass blades and weeds. It is either the strain of pulling the rake out or an odd angle at which I may have bent that caused my backache. It could also be because of the leaves’ reluctance to be hauled away without their consent. I could argue that they fell without their consent too, a point they might counter saying ‘Yeah, but that is part of our natural cycle but being raked is not.’

It turns out that I may have to bag the leaves because the time for their pickup is well past. There is a certain period in the fall during which waste management trucks show up. It would serve no purpose telling the city that some trees shed leaves particularly late and, in any case, the leaves in my front yard are not even from trees on my lot. They are wind-swept into my yard from elsewhere down the street. But then if I enjoy their shade during the summer, it seems rather selfish to complain while clearing them in the fall.

If I have so much problem raking leaves once a year for about an hour, I should shift to Mars because there are no trees there. However, the Martian soil will leave red marks on my clothes. So do you see my dilemma?

There is no particular point to this post other than making some vague philosophical point about fallen leaves and impermanence. If that did not come through, that’s just too bad. Blame it on my backache.


About chutiumsulfate

South Asians can infer from my name what I am. View all posts by chutiumsulfate

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