Leaves in the Wind

Leaves in the Wind

I can see in my mind’s eye the leaves riding in gusts of wind, higher and higher over the rows of metal skips labelled for Paper, Cupboard, Garden Waste, Scrap Metal, Plastic Bottles, Hardcore, Timber and, if in doubt, Landfill. The clothes banks are dribbling with last year’s fashion and the bottle banks vomiting a cocktail of mixed-strengths joyfulness and sorrows.

The words on the pages are finally set free. Letters fluttered in the cold winter’s air mixed with putrid stench of the crushed rubbish and the damp sweetness of the decomposing leaves.

And what a strange sense of relief. It had taken me over twenty years to finally let go of the manuscript of my Master’s dissertation, and fifteen my doctorate’s. In this season of taking stock and counting our blessings, I decided to carry out my intellectual laundry. I see my younger self at different stages of my life, traversing strange paths and landscapes: from the blinding lights of the cities to the astonishingly clarity of darkness of the high mountains…. I was soaring above ordinariness and mediocrity. And it was only right that I believed that my words were my wisdom and my wisdom should be preserved…. 

We are so sure of our immortality. Each sound we utter, each word we chew over, each sentence we form, each paragraph we craft and each piece of writing we construct. We believe that they are our gift to mankind, gospel to be learned and to abide by. How laughable that notion seems now…. Our imperishable intellect. Our precious cleverness.

The wind turns over another leaf. It creeps along under the mighty scraps of metallic waste. But, you look up. Close your eyes and listen

the night skies are bejewelled with shimmering stones by the shy seamstress the many rivers tell the strangest of the tales in poly-tongues and glisten like silver wires holding the beleaguered wildernesses in one piece the ferns and moss that reassure the bewildered forests and the mantis that persists to threaten its imaginary challenger with hyperbolic gesticulations of its weightless machetes a single snow flake melting in a gloved palm

and the gentlest of the ebbing that coaxes the stubbornest rocks

The soldiers of our regiment. Words. Words. Words. The prisoners of our pride. 

I came home and set other inmates free


About W. S. Lien

Tweed Wearer - Country Lover - Teacher Researching Professionalism and Identity@Clare College, Cambridge - Keen Amateur Photographer - Devotee to Poppy my Labrador
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