Two years ago, I was lying under the big tree in my front yard and staring up at the leaves - which had been falling to the ground. I was hoping to see a leaf fall from the tree, but after twenty minutes of anticipation, no luck. I began talking to the tree - believing full well that it could not hear me - and said: "Tree, if you can hear me, drop just one leaf from your branch for me to see, so I can believe that we have a real connection in this world." And less than 3 seconds after I said this to the tree - after 20 minutes of waiting to see a leaf fall - the tree let a leaf loose and I watched as it fluttered down and landed on my chest. I immediately stood up, thanked the tree, and went in to secure the leaf in a safe place (inside a Robert Frost book of mine). I have not seen the leaf since then - until today.
Four days ago, on Monday, October 5, my best friend, Mr. Mick, was hit and killed by a car in front of my house. It has shaken the very foundation of my view of reality. Long story short, to help cope with this immense loss, pain, and sadness, Paige and I have been collecting flowers every single day to put on Mick's grave - which is in our back yard - while constantly talking to him as well. I don't believe he can hear us, because I don't believe in any sentient afterlife; however, I assured Paige that Mick, being a cat and all, could not understand what we were saying to him while he was alive, so the fact that he cannot understand us now makes no difference to me. So I continue to talk to Mick, outward and openly, with the faint hope that doing so matters in some way - that some spark of our connection allows such utterances to be well-received, somehow.
Today, Friday, October 9th, Paige and I were planning to cut another sunflower from my front yard to put on Mick's grave. But just before doing so, I remembered the leaf I had tucked away inside my Robert Frost book two years previous. I remembered what the leaf stood for: My connection with nature. My connection with a tree, that although not sentient, could drop a leaf to my chest if I asked appropriately. I thought about my utterances to - my one-way conversations with - my no-longer-sentient friend, Mick, and I realized that it was once again time for that fallen leaf to serve as a connector for myself and my fallen best friend. Paige and I walked out to where Mick's body rests, and I pushed some dirt from the surface of the ground, placed the leaf (which was still in perfect shape) beneath the soil, and told my no-longer-sentient friend that I miss him and love him. While walking back into my house I knew... although Mick cannot understand the words I speak to him, the connection is still there.
I no longer need such a memento, which once hid within my Robert Frost book, to remember such connections. Like Mick (and with Mick), I buried the leaf forever, yet I will continue to speak to my best friend, and will stay connected to him always.