There is a tree behind my neighbor’s house that I can see from my yard.
The leaves are amber from autumn into early winter.
When it’s windy, they fly off in a flurry, the tree’s narrow trunk bowing under Mother Nature’s weight.
Weaker trees around it fall. The tree in question does not.
I watch in awe, every year, as the leaves yellow and brown and eventually fall from the tree’s boughs.
It’s a pity, sure, but I am content that for a few months, I get to watch them grow and evolve.
Today, the leaves’ golden hue peeks at me through a kitchen window.
The branches are leaning over, war-torn by days of storms, reaching toward the earth.
The distance between the leaves and the ground is ever-shrinking, a point approaching zero but never quite reaching it.
In a few months, the tree will be barren. Its fallen leaves will decompose.
They will never meet the new generations of leaves that come each spring.
They will never bear witness to the metamorphosis of their former home, to the growth and change it will undergo in the years to come.
They will never see their stronghold eventually splinter and collapse under the weight of Mother Nature’s force and fury,
becoming one with the earth toward which it was so desperately reaching.
I wonder what it's like to be the one left behind by change.
I’ve always believed it a privilege to be allowed close enough to witness another’s development,
To be along for the journey as they shift from one version of themself to the next.
But this, I realize, is a privilege that I cannot even afford myself.
There are pieces of me that will never see the changes next fall will bring my neighbor’s tree.
There are pieces of my neighbor’s tree that will never see the changes next fall will bring me.
Parts of me will die before other parts are born; it is a fact that simultaneously troubles and comforts me.
Perhaps you, Reader, will never meet the newest versions of me.
But then again, neither will I.