This Autumn, looking at the leaves, I was reminded of my post of 2018 Pebbles and People and struck by a contrast in my thinking. It is not new – in fact it is practically habitual – for me to reply to my own ideas with some sort of a challenge. On this occasion it was not so much that I challenged my earlier thoughts about pebbles, but rather it seemed that leaves, by their nature, encouraged a different analogy or line of thinking. Or was it a shift in my attention and meaning-making?
Where I had found myself drawn to individual pebbles taken from the mass, enjoying my conviction of their separate and inherent adequacy (a perfection that allows, even requires, imperfection; a good-enough-ness), here I found myself appreciative of the mass effect. Taking any leaf individually did not satisfy. I would find a blemish or a lack of lustre that was irrelevant when part of the grand show. I tossed them back quickly to rejoin their fellows and resume whatever process I had interrupted.
It struck me that leaves are not pebbles. They are organic and relatively transient. They were born individual and seem almost to relish merging when the opportunity arises. Pebbles, by contrast, were hewn from a mass existence to which they seem in no rush to return.
And what change in my own circumstances might be responsible for this different appreciation – this appreciation of the transience and communal beauty, over stubborn and proud individuality?