Falling Leaves

My great-grandmother used to tell me,
That if you caught a falling leaf
Before it touched the ground,
You could wish on it.
She used to say that fall leaves
Were God’s way of sending down his wishes.

When I was a kid
I would spend hours in the yard
Trying to catch as many leaves as I could.
And when I caught so many
That all my wishes were made,
I would keep catching and catching.
When I collected too many to hold
I would hand out God wishes to the neighbors.

As I got older, I started to think
That handing out God’s gifts
Was like doing his job,
Which I knew that was wrong.
But before I could ask
My great-grandmother about it,
She died.
I was nine years old.
So I was left thinking that God’s gifts
Were only sent to those who needed them.
But why then, I thought,
Did it seem that I was the only one
Who ever wanted to go catch leaves?

Two years before my great-grandmother passed,
My family and I joined a new Church.
I learned to pray in a new way,
Talking only with God
And listening for anything
I was meant to receive.

One day,
Years after she left us,
While I was praying in the woods
Outside the Church,
I asked God if I was meant to give away His leaves.
I listened and listened
With no luck of a response.
So I went home angry,
Feeling ignored and hopeless.

But when we got home,
And I went to get the mail from the box,
A stopped to let a woman pass on the sidewalk
And a falling, damp leaf caught my eye.
I reached out and let it fall into my hands.

When I brought the mail in,
My mother noticed the leaf and smiled.
“A God wish” She said.
And I handed it to her.
She smiled even more then,
And with eyebrows raised she said,
“Thank you, I needed one”.

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