tillness. But not silence...there was, in a meadow filled with the olive greens and the warm colors of gold, orange, and tan, that announce the days of late summer. Buzzing of bumble bees and honey bees, humming in a language known only to them, was barely heard. Strewn out in every direction there were purple asters, some late Queen Anne’s lace, and many cheerful faces of daisies. Very slowly, a stirring in the air was felt. Grasses heavily ladened with seed heads, lush from summer’s abundance, began to lean to one side. A wave of cool air flowed across the meadow, carrying with it a fluffy seed from one of summer’s children. Slowly the fluff drifted across the tops of flowers and critters, into the forest that lined one side of the field.

Upon entering the dark, coolness of the wood, the seed fluff drifted lazily from side to side and eventually downward, landing right at the feet of none other than Mr. Maple....a Mr. Maple who was not the tree he once was. In fact he was a bit on the “lean” side.

Now, in a time long ago, Mr. Maple was a tree who was the wonder of the forest. He stood tall alongside a handsome Elm. He was shaped beautifully and stood majestically and happily for many years. He gave the ground dwellers shade in the summer and provided a virtual haven for those critters who lived in his branches. Of special notice was his canopy of color in the Autumn season. His leaves would change into a myriad of various colors, clothing him in a robe that glowed throughout the forest. He would rustle his leaves and puff out his bark, proudly being the great exhibitionist he truly was.

But when the days would stay cold and the sun would loosen its hold in the sky, his leaves would fall to the ground and he would end up looking very much like the Elm and the other trees who shared his part of the woods. His spirit would fall and he became very unhappy. But winter would prevail and to sleep he would go, along with everybody else.

Spring came early one year and summer became warm with just the right amount of rain. When fall began, Mr. Maple’s leaves were of such rich and wondrous colors, all the residents of the forest could do nothing but stare with amazement. Out puffed Mr. Maple’s bark and he rustled his leaves with great delight, creating a canopy of color never seen before. Proudly, he stood and was beyond happy at all the attention.

Slowly, the days became shorter and colder. Mr. Maple knew his days of importance were numbered and oh, how he dreaded it. I simply must hold onto my leaves, he said to himself, one bright and crisp morning. Surely, it can be done and I will try my best! So, he tightened his bark and squinted his knots, holding on tight to every leaf he could. The cold winter winds began to blow and lo and behold, there were still leaves on Mr. Maple!

One gray day, it began to snow; softly at first and then with a torrent. It became a sheet of white, blotting out the sky and all things in the forest. Mr. Maple stood proud and tall, so happy that his leaves were still with him. He became sleepy and knew that the time of rest was upon him. The Elm had gracefully dozed off days ago. So away into blissful slumber, Mr. Maple went.

CRACK! Down went a large branch from Mr. Maple. Soon another CRACK! sounded throughout the forest. The leaves that were left on him had become heavy with snow and the weight of the leaves had become too much for Mr. Maple’s branches to bear. There were many more loud noises in the forest that night and when morning came, Mr. Maple still stood tall and proud, but there was something different about him. He was stripped bare of leaves and branches. Tall and straight he stood; like a telephone pole. However, Mr. Maple slept on through winter’s cold and darkness.

With the coming of Spring, all flora and fauna came back to life. The great Elm had a most beautiful canopy of leaves, as did all the other trees and bushes of the forest....all except Mr. Maple. For he never awakened from his endless slumber. With no branches and therefore no leaves, he was unable to enjoy the warmth of the sun and come back to life. The Elm rustled his leaves in pity. We will all miss Mr. Maple, he announced. However, it was unwise to try and fight nature and hold onto his leaves. They were his undoing in the end.

Mr. Maple in all his mighty magnificence was truly missed by all the forest folk. They loved his showy-ness and wit, but they all agreed with the Elm. Hanging on to his abundance and beauty truly did him in. Vanity, clung to and flaunted, carried with it a burden too heavy to bear through dark days of troubles.

May you live in bliss, holding not too tightly onto the things better left to drop away
~ Tasarwen

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