Dr. George Washington Carver, 1861-1943, agricultural chemist and agronomist, is probably best known for discovering 300 new uses for the peanut and 150 new uses for the sweet potato. What is less known is exactly how he extracted all those new uses. Once, when asked how he had accomplished such a feat, he replied, “Here [his laboratory] is what I call God’s Little Workshop. No books are ever brought in here. What is the need of books? Here I talk to the peanut and the sweet potato and the clays of the hills and they talk back to me. Here great wonders are brought forth.” And, when asked how it was he could get the peanut or sweet potato to give up its secrets, he replied, “You have to love it enough. Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also – if you love them enough.” [From The Man Who Talks With the Flowers by Glenn Clark]
Recently, I bundled up to catch one of the season’s last slumbers in my hammock. I got to thinking about George Washington Carver as I gazed up at my familiar friends, the leaves. There they were, once again, just dancing above my head across that deep blue sky soaking up the sun’s rays. I thought about all the times I had reached up toward them, as if I could touch them with my fingers, yearning to join in their play. How I have loved those leaves.
So, I decided to try it out. What secrets might the leaves share with me today? Silently, I asked which leaf might be willing to be the spokesperson. It didn’t take long for one to emerge. As I held it in my gaze, I imagined it in my heart receiving all the love and gratitude I have long felt for its simple presence in my life. I am listening.
And, the following secrets were revealed…
We were born of the seed from Father Sun and nurtured in the womb of Mother Earth. When Father Sun illumines us, our differences are revealed which we all quite enjoy. You see, even though some of us may appear similar, there are actually no two of us alike. We are each unique like snowflakes in winter. We are fed each day from Mother Earth through the deep roots of our tree. We receive all we need. Sometimes our brother, wind, comes to play and blows through us. And, sometimes our sister rain comes to shower us with the water of life. From above and below, and from all around, we are nurtured and cared for.
We have a short life compared to you but, unlike you, we delight in our coming end. Why? Oh, because this is when we actually become the most extraordinary! Some of us will turn bright red, others golden and still others a deep orange. Some will delight in keeping their forever green. We never know how it will be. We just know it will be beautiful.
And, when it is time, we will gently let go of our branch and float down, back home, to Mother Earth. You see, she needs us to make good soil to grow new trees and to make more leaves like us. In this way, we get to be a part of, and live on through, all the leaves to come. Just like the veins that weave through each of us, we join the great web uniting all life. While you may fear death as a separation from life, we know that death unites us to all life.
Know, too, that we see you each time you come to play with us. And, together, we weave into the web of life all the love we enjoy.
And, all are blessed.
The leaf told me so…