The leaves were like great yellow and brown palms extended across the ground where they had fallen. They were a splash of color on a mid-October day when the world seemed a black-and-white photograph. History seems so present in our everyday, and every day becomes new history. As I began to wander into the complexity of this thought, my head began to ache. It was all so burdensome.
Ellie the dog and I ventured along the row of eighteenth century houses lining the border of the park with the surrounding farmland. A wreath of bright yellow leaves jumped out at me from one of the doors. Immediately I was drawn to the idea and went closer to see how it had been assembled. This would become my project for the day - my way of leaving the mental conundrums of the week behind me. I would spend my time gathering a basketful of those yellow palms that caressed the earth, and then sit down at my kitchen table to make my own wreath out of nature's art supplies. In their purity and simplicity, I would be freed from the labyrinths of analysis that only led to contradiction.
As I removed the first leaf from the basket on my kitchen table, I noticed that it wasn't just yellow. The veins of the leaf were crossed by islands of orange and brown that marked the ongoing process of decomposition. There were holes where the insects had been. The surface of the leaf suddenly became the story of all living things: one of constant interaction with everything around it, going the way of all organic matter in every second of every day. The simplicity of the leaf and the wreath was a tale of the tired. It was invented in a moment when the wherewithal to see the interconnections was lacking.
It's easy to understand people who look for simple answers. At some point we all do. Things seem right when they are straight-forward, unembellished, pared down. Yet, behind anything in its most basic form, there is a myriad of veins, yellow islands and holes through which one can look to something else: another set of variables and another world that contradicts the smooth surface of the yellow leaf.