Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5: Leaf

A moment of beauty amid the mundane: I've just parked my car in downtown Camden, and I'm scooting around to the passenger side door so I can get out my registration and insurance card to register my car at the town office across the street. As I open the door, I notice a single, perfect, bright yellow leaf on the sidewalk,  a composite of five leaflets on one twig. The parent tree, an ash, immediately recognizable by its straight, grooved trunk, shades the village green. It's probably been there for a century or so. The leaf I find is the only yellow one visible, the only one fallen--the rest of the foliage in sight is still green and on the boughs. So I pick up the leaf offering and stash it on the front seat. Later, when I'm done with my errands and back in the car, the sight of it makes me smile.

Why this leaf fallen
when the park is still so green?
Hint of things to come...

In light of this moment and then the news tonight of the death of Steve Jobs, 56, founder of Apple, I got to thinking about mortality. A dear friend unexpectedly passed away a couple of weeks ago (he was barely older than Steve Jobs), and this quotation attributed to Steve Jobs that was going around Facebook tonight spoke to me like that single ash leaf:
‎"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose." - Steve Jobs in 2005 after being diagnosed with cancer

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