Crumpled Little Leaf

You are more special than you know. Photo by Daniel Frank.

Worthless, crumpled little leaf—
Cast off without a care;
Set upon the listless wind,
Carried here and there.
You’re not but nature’s clutter
To disgrace a pristine lawn;
The only want we give you
Is we want you good and gone!
And the Lord within the Manor
Sees you only as a chore;
He’ll have to rake and bag you
Which is irksome all the more.

Yet, a stooped and aged neighbor
Who farmed a tract of land
Came and did the raking
With worn but gentle hand.
He saw not cluttered garbage
But leaves of special worth.
He took them to his garden
And spread them on the earth,
And made a leafy blanket
As only he would know—
To shelter tender carrots
From the coming winter snow.

And God in yonder heavens
Is not a Manor Lord
Who views us as a burden
To which he has been chored,
But more like Gentle Farmer
Who sees us as divine—
Each with special mission
Of heavenly design—
With value and potential
That is His belief;
Even when we feel, perhaps,
Like crumpled little leaf.

Winter was coming fast, with January-like temperatures.  The drastic temperature drop shattered a 140 something year record.  And it was cold—not something you want to experience in mid-October.  In preparation for this artic apocalypse, I had a few things that had to get done.

See, I leave my beets and carrots in the ground all winter and dig them out of the snow as I use them.  They keep all winter that way.  Not only do they last longer, but I also don’t have to find another place to store them.  Some may call it “lazy” gardening; I prefer to call it “smart”. 

However, in order to prevent the crop from freezing and going mushy, it needs a thick layer of mulch over top.  Ordinarily I rake my leaves and use them for cover.  However, my trees did not get the memo that a cold snap was coming and were still enjoying their summer garb.

Well, there was no way I was going to start pulling the leaves off the trees.  It is work enough raking them after they fall.  So, I did the next best thing.  I walked down the street looking for strays.  I found a few in an elderly neighbor’s yard.  It didn’t feel right just “stealing” them, so I knocked to ask permission.  Not only was he happy to oblige, he insisted I take them all!

The task complete and the cold snap passed, has found me thinking more about those little leaves.  To my neighbor, they were unwanted and represented just another fall chore to clean up before the winter snows blew in.  To me, they were absolutely priceless.  Without them, all the work and effort in the summer garden would be wasted.  Not only that, but after they serve their purpose protecting my crop, I will till them into the soil next spring to provide added nutrients for next year’s bounty.  Valuable leaves indeed.

Still, sometimes we, or those we love, can feel like worthless fall leaves.  Perhaps we see ourselves as shriveled, abandon, unwanted, unloved, useless, spent, lost.  Sometimes even those around us may treat us this way.  We can feel like a burden or a chore.  Yet, the wise Master Gardener knows our infinite value and eternal worth.  No creation was an accident, no soul is without purpose, there is no life He does not love.  He has a mission and wonder for each of us to perform—that means me and that means you.  And in His loving care, we will do great things!

. . .Even if, now and then, we feel like only crumpled little leaves.   

Written: November 1, 2020

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