TODAY I SAW
New grown-up green leaves on the trees in the yard. Last year there were green leaves too. But they fell, one at a time, two at a time, and even handsfull at a time. But now there are new ones there. The tree would not have grown very far if one crop had been all it could have. Each spring there is a new covering of green leaves for the tree, so it grows and grows. There is a kind of eternity in having new leaves take the place of old ones and carrying on.
Our family tree is like that. And yet the wood left by the old leaves is the first wood, the wood that the new wood worked around is the foundation. So we are the second leaves or fourth or tenth. We are still clinging to the wood that the first leaves built. We grow the same, too. If a branch is hanging out over the house then new leaves now cling to it in the same manner that the first ones hung. We must grow the same way because that is the way the twigs are hanging.
There is so much comfort in the fact that our tree has weathered other springs like ours. That sometimes in the past there have been springs with a lot of rain as this has been but the tree and the leaves weathered it just the same. They grew to maturity and turned red and gold and then they fell. They fell and lay until they were raked off and burned and then seemed to gain some sort of eternity by leaving in the memory of all those that saw them a picture of loveliness, a picture of golden light, earth-made. Then in perfect dedication, the following spring, new leaves take up the task that the old ones left off. Today I saw new leaves.
—Mabel Claudia Knapp Hess