I was taken away from my mother at a very young age. You could say it was a premature time for me to leave the warm, outstretching, and safe arms of my mother. 

     I don’t remember I cried. I did not know what was happening at the time. I recall the sound of my mother as she tried to hold me closer, and not let them take me away, but they were too strong. They thought my mother could not take care of me. I was told she was towards the end of her life-span. I keep on wondering how that is possible… 

     She was young when she had me. I remember how wonderful it was to be with her, to be embraced by the warmth of the sun as she held me out towards the light. She knew how much I loved it, but now this was all in the past. These memories have always, and will always serve, as my escape from this cruel world. 

     It is true that I was taken because “they” thought my mother was incapable of handling a child, but they weren’t either. However, everyone sees things differently, and I for one, chose to go with the flow till I found my mother again. It was an agonizing journey, and it comes back to me in flashes. Sometimes, I wake up in a startle, thinking that I was back in their prison. 

     My journey began as I fell away from her arms, and it was a constant struggle, as I was on a constant move. I blew with the winds left and right, wherever they took me. My destination was one-home. She was home. 

     May I be taken to the end of the world, I swore to its majesty the sun, that I would find my way back into her selfless care. I was thrown out onto the streets, under the wheels of the car, but I managed to escape over to the sidewalks. People there were merciless. No one truly care about anything anymore. All I could see were people hustling and avoiding any eye-contact. How I longed to be surrounded by many siblings at moments like these, when I was stepped on, dragged from one side to another helplessly, or even thrown away into a gutter. 

      It was then that I realized how people had lost their sense of care and compassion. I had seen it in their eyes. Selfishness was dripping from their eyes, and if I happened to be pushed into a small café, I’d listen to their empty words, that seemed to echo into their ears that were void of listening. I thought I was watching an end to humanity as I lived among them from time to time. 

     More times than none, I was drenched in dirty water, and with the days and years passing, I was beginning to lose color. Even the coat that kept me alive was beginning to fade away. 

      I visited almost every country, each time with high hopes. I admit that there were days I felt as if it would be my last time searching, but something always prompted me forward. Sometimes, the sun guided my way, other times, the moon shone its light and opened my way. Some days, I hid in the woods, behind trees, or on tall branches. They felt so much like home, but I knew they weren’t, so I had to move forward. It was places like these, however, that I felt safest. I traveled long distances jumping from tree to tree, climbed down branches, and floated on the muddy grounds. How I loved the smell of the earth after the rains. 

This place kept me away from the horrifying shoes that chose not to notice me, or the snow that froze me with its unbearable cold. Homelessness was my home at the time. The dead eyes of men held no attention to what was going on around them. They were like walking ghosts. What was most horrifying was witnessing the forest burn in flames for hours. It seemed forever, but I remember well how most of the forest burnt to the ground before I heard anyone come to control and turn out the fire. It was too late. I saw the trees fall, while the flames grew higher and stronger as they fed on the closest thing to home that I’ve known in years. It was the most tragic sight. 

After the flames were out, I made my way to the other side of the forest. I jumped right across an invisible border, and into the last country I would travel to. How oblivious people were to what borders looked like. To me, it was nothing but a small cross over a little stream, or a leap from one tree to another. This was something that made me happy, this big detail which people seemed to overlook. I always thought people brush off the obvious. Little do they know how many secrets are hidden in the clearest of places-in plain sight. 

As I made my way around the city, I fell to the mercy of a city life. The city life was the pinnacle of blind people, who cared little for nature, walked. I remember that I wasn’t only stepped on, but brushed off with one foot to make way for a person to sit on the side-walk. When I didn’t move too far, I was pushed with anger. As a result of age and weariness, the wind picked me up, and I floated around and around endlessly. 

For a moment, as the night fell, I was laid on the ground. I shook off the dirt. It made no difference as my color was fading still. I sat in silence, and enjoyed the dark. A few thoughts about my travels came to mind. Traveling around made me free from staying in one place. With movement, came lessons I wouldn’t forget. I knew, as I held the secrets of the world with me, I was as free as a bird, because knowledge granted me liberty. 

But I knew I’d always be a captive. When I looked up, I saw I was laying right under the branches of my mother. It was a feeling of recognition, rather than the sight. I came closer and laid at her feet. She didn’t look down. She seemed unbothered of my existence right beneath her. I was not sure how to feel, so I enjoyed the moment. As free as I had been in my travels, with every journey bringing newer challenges, I remained imprisoned by this earth, bound by the movement of the winds, and at the mercy of my yearning to get back to a mother that doesn’t recognize her child. 

This moment was all I needed though, as I finally breathed out in relief. It didn’t matter if she held me in her embrace anymore. It mattered that I was sheltered in her safe shadows, far from the cruelty of man. With that relief, I slowly, but surely, turned into ashes, and was once again blown away, but this time, into the swirl of the spirits of nature, that I knew would forever keep me alive. 

…. This is a story…My story, the leaf.