I walked along the leaf-strewn path flanking the eastern base of Mt. Tamalpais. A soft fog floated aimlessly between naked trees and redwood groves. A gentle rain was falling. The only sound was the crush of my boots against a tapestry of fallen leaves. Nothing stirred. I was an intruder almost in a glen stilled by winter, eerily motionless. How calm, how quiet, how. . . misleading.
I stooped to pick up a fallen leaf; vivid splashes of red and gold but crimped by age at the edges. A dead leaf, yes, but also a symbol of renewal. This panoply of leaves on which I walked would gradually decompose, providing sustenance for insects and fungi which would, in turn, produce a nutrient-rich soil for future growth; a constantly on-going, recycling process where nothing really dies but merely changes character, from leaf to mulch to growth again. And though the process is terrestrial, it requires an orchestration of sun, wind, rain and soil in the miraculous recycling of Earth's components.
The sky opened up as the gentle rain turned to a heavy downpour. My usual reaction would be to run for cover, but this time, I lifted my face to the rain, and tasted the sensation, realizing at once, that we, too, are a part of this renewal process. At the end of the path, I spotted a sapling, alone but well-nurtured by the process that had brought is this far. I looked back at where I had strolled: nothing was really calm or still in this glen. Rather, it was all a staging area, a reassemblage of energy poised and ready for the next Spring.
With a Perspective, I'm Deidre Silverman.
Deidre Silverman lives in San Raphael.