Elder Leaves
Harbin Hot Springs, CA

Standing in silence on the hot spring ledge
Along a row of other plants in ceramic pots
Her tiny pink flowers shaped like bells
Call me into conversation

Her vibrancy is displayed in the lushness
Of new green leaves pushing up from the middle
With delicate pink bells wind-dancing
Atop larger and darker leaves
With those near the bottom
Darkened near the edges
Torn in places
Worn, lived
I feel an urge to clip away older leaves
To create a potted plant of new life 

“You’re judging those leaves by modern ways
Remember to step away from your concept of beauty
Youth and vibrancy can’t hold a community together
Youth and vibrancy need ancient ways
You’re looking at our leaf elders
And judging them as torn, worn, darkened
In our culture
We respect our leaf elders
They hold space from below
For new life coming into herself above
A part of you wants to clip away worn leaves
A part of you only sees beauty in new growth
You focus on pink flowers
You focus on lushness
Yet remember love
That the flowers wouldn’t be supported
If those older leaves had not done their work
And now is the time to acknowledge them and their beauty
As the expression of their beauty is not only in the new growth
Yet also in the beauty of each rip
In the beauty of each darkened leaf
How many leaf elders in your culture
Do you overlook?
Do you clip away?
Do you forget to acknowledge with gratitude?
Remember that their work and efforts and raggedness now
Are allowing a new world to be born?"

******************************WE ARE ALL STARS***************************

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