Leaf tales

The leaves in the wood have scars now; they are not fresh and young as they once were. Their greens have darkened with age, their vibrancy replaced with grandeur, arboreal gravity. Tender, soft foliage is gone – leaves are tough pages on which stories are written, stories of summer storms and unseen visitors, of the movement of time and seasons. The holly records the passage of leaf borers, the sycamore the meals of aphid and caterpillar. Hawthorn leaves have been eaten into lace curtains and hazel leaves, browsed by deer and insect life, are slipping into autumn yellows. The undersides of oak leaves are sprayed with tiny galls, miniature flying saucers rimmed with pink; where they attach, the top surface of the leaves are pocked. Bracken fronds show tips of lemon, edges curl. The season’s wheel has turned, nights are lengthening and the leaves are aware – their senescence begins to the gentle rattle of falling bluebells seeds and the whisper of clean, damp air.

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