When you arrive, trees shed leaves of joy. They have been anticipating your arrival for months. Now, they can finally peel their adornments off and get rid of all the leaves that have been weighing them down for the past year. Ah, the wondrous feeling of lightness that comes with being naked.
Leaves blush at the first sight of you. You are a strange, mysterious thing that they have never encountered before. Who could you be? The leaves ponder curiously amongst themselves and they huddle to discuss what to do with you. Your unannounced presence has turned them into nervous schoolgirls, gathering in groups to gossip about the latest happenings. They are unsure of what to expect from you and wonder what has become of their friend, Summer, who has suddenly disappeared from sight. Are you to be their new playmate? Feeling suddenly conscious of a stranger’s presence, they blush and turn into all sorts of radiant colours: red, orange and yellow.
Little winds whisper elfishly amongst the air. They taunt the leaves and smirk that their time in this world is coming to an end.
“Foolish creatures… we have seen it all. It’s the same, year after year. Just like your parents, grandparents and great grandparents, all of you will soon have to bid goodbye to this world. Enjoy your remaining days in this glorious world…”
This remark send the leaves into a frenzy. Nobody had warned them about this! A cloud of uncertainty and fear envelope them. They fidget and start muttering amongst themselves.
“Is this true?”
“Why?… I am still young, I don’t want to perish yet.”
“Oh tree and fellow leaves, I’ll miss you all…”
The more determined ones think: “No..I am different. I refuse to succumb to my destiny…I am determined to hang on to the branch for as long as I can. I want to live. There is still so much unfinished business left for me to do in this world.…”
Unfortunately, nothing gold can stay.
As the prophecy foretold, one by one and day by day, the leaves become weaker and weaker under your watchful eyes. They become forced to loosen their grips on the branches and eventually succumb to gravity. They fall to the ground and are swept away into the unknown. Only the strongest of the strongest survive you, Autumn, to live to tell the tale.
Some of the younger trees feel a pang in their heart as they see their beloved leaves leave them. They beg you for mercy. Meanwhile, the older trees look on indifferently. Many years of the same scene have hardened them. They have achieved enlightenment and understand the Buddhist saying of “The root of suffering is attachment”.
Dear Autumn, while you are cruel to the leaves, I daresay you are my favourite season of the year. I like you best out of the four friends of Seasons. Even though I live in a tropical island, where Summer is my only friend all year round, I constantly wonder how nice it would be if you could swap places with Summer in the place where I live.
I think of the sublime sights and delights you can bring to my own life. Boring grey roads transformed into glossy red ribbons. Brightly coloured foliage to inspire masterpiece paintings and photographies. Squeals of happiness coming from the little children jumping onto puddles of fallen red leaves. The comforting crispy crunching sound of the leaves as feets step onto them. Oh, but how all the road cleaners must detest you! For they will have to spend extra efforts to sweep the fallen leaves off the roads. Never mind them.
I hear that you bring the best out of New England. Many people flock there to take in the majestic view of the foliage of trees. Hmm, maybe I will visit there one day too … I can imagine how much joy it would be to meet you there.
Goodbye Autumn. I have said all that I wanted, to you. It has been nice knowing you and I will forever remember our first encounter in Beijing during the year of 2019. See you again!