Monday, 7 December 2009

Warm Brown Life

This week’s sentence was taken from J.M. Barrie’s delightful precursor to ‘Peter Pan And Wendy’, the Pan we all know and love: ‘Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens.’

The sentence was:
'There is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf.'

Warm Brown Life

Mister Lunchtime. Perched on the park bench. Passing joggers flailed and gasped, the slap of their soles receding into general background chatter. Kids yelling. Muffled traffic. Park noise.
He tuned it out, apple poised for the first bite.

Sudden movement caught his eye and he instinctively followed it.
A smile creased his face. Ambushed by childish delight: 'There is almost nothing that has such a keen sense of fun as a fallen leaf'.
He watched the wind catch at this one, the desperate fluttering of its final few moments before a sudden blast plucked it free from the tree; torn from the twig where it had been born into springtime and where it had spent this past summer's life that was now ending.
A large plane leaf: deepest yellow flecked with brown at the curling edges. Magnificent in itself. Free of treedom it clearly revelled in this one last mad fling.
A blustery gust and the leaf swooped and swirled, caught an updraught, sparkling gold shimmered in the sunlight as it spun against the deep blue sky.
What a truly beautiful way to go, he thought. Perhaps humans might feel this same sheer uninhibited joy when wrenched free of the burden of life. He somehow doubted it. We should be so lucky.

Still flying; frisky, skittish, playful, whirling in the tumbling breeze.

Watching the leaf duck and dive he felt a momentary pang of regret at being the wrong shape to join in the fun. Physics being physics, even spread-eagled, leaping from the high-board he had always tended to the vertical.
Just once in his life he would love to experience this glorious flutter and glide, to go out like this leaf, in one last gravity-defying dance, whooping and hollering his way to oblivion.

Suicide jumpers, he mused, might come closest to such spectacular flourish, though of course they would need billowy clothes and a really windy day to try it. Mostly people simply dropped, more like fruit than leaves. And just as messy. Rarely would they spin or do anything more than surrender to the inevitability of gravity. On occasion one might hit a ledge on the way down and bounce, cartwheeling, puppet-dancing, an aerobatic spectacular plummeting to the big bang, but usually it was simply a dull demonstration of Newton's laws.
Not his leaf though. This guy was defiantly taking the scenic route.
Mentally he urged it on.
"Fly, you little sucker! Go out in a blaze of glory."

He was glad of the breeze. Pity the leaf that falls on a still day. A few twirls and a curlicue to sign off and then oblivion. The slow transformation to humus.
At last his leaf, sated, settled with a sigh joining the millions basking in the sunshine. Deep drifts the colours of fire would feed next year’s leaves.
Kicking his way happily through this warm brown life, he tossed his apple into a pile of leaves where it disappeared beneath the surface.
Let it join the party.

I love the park …

Magic is always possible there.

9 comments:

Scout said...

This is one of your most beautiful stories, Dive, even with the suicide jumper analogy.

"Pity the leaf that falls on a still day"—lovely.

TR Woodruff said...

This is a truely beautiful story dive, bravo says me. It's a great community of 500 Words and it makes me thrilled to be a part of it - thanks for sharing your works with us!

Todd

dive said...

Robyn: Sorry about the jumpers but I'm kinda lame when it comes to analogies so I tend to stick to the obvious.
I'm glad you liked that line. Some days I feel a little like that myself. Let's hope it's blustery when I check out.

Todd: You are too kind. I am so glad you are part of our little 500 Words thing; your writing is amazing. This week's blew me away. Pure magic.

Shan said...

It was nice to have your favorite park as the theme to your story Dive. I know that is one place you find peace in the craziness of the city. :) You always have such great imagery in your stories.

dive said...

Shan: It is indeed my oasis of calm amidst the mayhem. I'm a Norfolk boy and cannot survive long without trees and grass and lakes.

Ms M said...

Lovely, magical piece. Parks are indeed wonderful oases from all the hectic business of life...

dive said...

Thank you, Ms.M.
I am very lucky in that my office in Westminster is within a few minutes walk not only of the river but of St.James's Park, Green Park and Hyde Park, so I can walk for hours in greenery right in the heart of London.

MmeBenaut said...

Beautiful writing Dive; I loved the phrase "free from treedom" lol
Love the accompanying photos too.

dive said...

Thank you, Mme; That one started as 'freedom' and then mutated quite happily.
It is simply not possible to take a bad photo in St.James's Park and Green Park, especially in November.