What are you still doing there? All the others are gone, because, by now, by midwinter, the leaves fall, every last leaf.

Except you.

It’s confusing, you know?

I thought you were a finch, a sparrow.

I watched for the tail to fan, maybe a ruffle of feathers against the cold air.

Glasses… stepping closer… You’re a leaf!

Brown, withered, yet clinging to your Limb.

What a surprise to see you there.

Do you have a special bond? Are you a super leaf? Is it magic?

I’m not judging, but what are you waiting for, defiantly locked to your Limb against the blasts of wind and weight of rain?

Why didn’t you fall like the rest?

Truly, I’m curious.

Are you afraid of the Fall?

Most of us are.

We clamber and cling, but for what?

The Fall is inevitable.

And now you’re all alone,



hanging by the…

how are you still hanging there?

I swear I’m not judging, but why do you stay?

In a couple of weeks your Limb will groan and grow, the bark will erupt in new buds and nodes. New leaves will form.

Are you waiting for them? A lesson in Living before letting go?

Spring will challenge your attachment to the Limb.

The winds and rain of Rebirth will surely bring you down.

But today, you’re still here.

Maybe this unexpected longevity on the Limb is a gift. Wisdom? Peace?

I’m rooting for you and that precarious grip that holds you above your fallen Fellows,

above the leaves that rot into the Earth

to nourish your Tree,

your Limb,

your Connection.

I confused you for a swallow and maybe I did judge you for not falling, but I know you know the Fall is inevitable.

You know the Spring is coming.

So, why are you still here?

Did you linger for me, to turn over my curious Heart?

Maybe to reconnect me to your Limb

and your Tree

and the Soil that holds the Roots

that burrow beneath my bare feet

that press your rotting Fellows into the Earth

as I stand gazing at you in wonder.

The last Leaf.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023