Golden Leaves

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I’m looking out over an ocean of golden leaves that covers and hides my garden. They are glorious, like gold coins, and I am the millionaire who owns them.

Soon enough they will turn brown but I don’t care. Today I am the golden leaf millionaire.

I should consider raking them up, but not today. Today I am the golden leaf millionaire.

For days the leaves have hung on the tree, gold coins against a vivid blue sky, but now they are falling, showering the path, the plants, the soil with gold.

Toddlers and dogs bounce in the piles, laughing, barking with joy. The spiders have cursed the weight of the leaves as they weigh down their webs. The earwigs have blessed the leaves as they have scuttled to hide underneath them.

Nature excels in profligacy – she has so many leaves on so many trees, each autumn for so many years. A few sample leaves would have done. We could have put them under glass in a museum. We would then have valued them highly and a few men might have made plans to steal them and sell them to a collector for a fortune.

But no, we have so many golden leaves that we complain about them and rake them up. Their only value is as compost. But my golden leaves have value as I stare out the window at them.

The sun is making them lustrous, glowing. Their brightness is almost overwhelming. I bask in their richness.

At some point they will turn brown and crisp. Like all wealth they turn to dross in the face of the ultimate realities. I will no longer be a golden leaf millionaire, I will be a gardener facing an annual task.

The worms will pull some leaves down into the soil and the micro-organisms will go about their dutiful work preparing the soil to get ready for the work of enriching the tree to create next year’s harvest.

More golden leaves then. Again for a few days I will be the golden leaf millionaire.

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