I walked on a crunchy leaf the other day. It was a hot day, the sun was baking the blacktop. The air was still and the thermostat was approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The crisp leaf had fallen from a tree and the summer sun had baked out all of it’s life juices. I looked up to place the sun, I could not see it. Between the sun and I there was a beautiful tree.
The tree trunk was a mottled white and brown, large patches of each color covered the trunk all the way up. As if a guernsey cow had been good in a past life and was reincarnated as this tree. The lime green leaves covered all of the branches. Together the leaves and the branches teamed up to create a canopy that blocked out both the sun and the heat. As I walked briefly under the sheltered stretch of cool sidewalk I pondered the tree and it’s released leaf.
The leaf cannot live without the tree. Yet it is also not dead upon release. It still has life in it, yet now, it’s days are numbered. How would you describe the moment of time between it’s separation from the tree and it’s connection with the ground? Freedom?
When attached to the tree it is part of the whole and part of the system that is the tree. The tree provides nutrients to the leaf to grow and unfold. In turn it provides nutrients to the tree extracted from the sunlight. It may dream of one day being free, but that freedom comes with a price. For a moment it will fly and be set in motion by the wind or the air currents as it gently makes its way out of control toward the ground.
Remember that freedom is not control. Freedom requires being free, nothing more. The experience of freedom is relative. What are you free from? The leaf is free from the tree. But it is not free from gravity. It is not free from the wind. Only for a moment is it free from the ground. Yet relative to it’s past association with to the branch, it is free.
What if we are the leaf?
What if our moment here, in this life, is just a fall from the tree?
We separate ourselves from the larger tree and this moment, this instant that we live here on earth, that we consider free, is just an flash of time. A brief experience of separation from the source. We spend much of our time wondering what we are missing, because we are so used to being connected to the source. Everything we knew before was being part of the whole, and now, for a brief moment, we are free.
Freedom is relative. We are still bound by rules and roles and contracts. But we are free of the source. And sometimes we’re not sure what we’re supposed to do during the fall… Enjoy it!
It’s only an instant. A flash of light compared to the larger picture. But this is your moment. This is your freedom. In the end your shell will land on the sidewalk used up and dried out. But you will return to the source and reconnect as you were.
You are not presently as you were. You are as you are.
Experience what you have instead of seeking what you had. What you had will come again.
But what you have is this moment, and this moment will never come again.