|The Maple Trail, Campbellsville University, Campbellsville, KY|
The maple leaf danced furiously in the cool autumn breeze. No matter how hard he tried to break free, he clung fast to the mother tree. A poof of cool air smashed against him, snapping the grip of his weakening stem. The breeze lifted him and carried him wildly around the tree - thrilling him with the excitement of his dreams.
“Ah, I’m free! I’ve waited so long for this day. I held on to mother tree from the day I was a mere bud of a leaf. I hung on as I soaked up the spring rains and grew into a perfect maple leaf of bright green. I even hung on during the days of summer when there was no moisture for me. What little rain fell was shared with my millions of brothers and sisters. Then, finally, the days began to cool and I transformed into a work of art. All who saw me as I became a rich combination of green, orange and yellow adored me. Here I am. Look at me.”
As the leaf stretched in the breeze to reveal his colors to the world, he glided toward the ground below. He anticipated becoming a part of the colorful carpet. There was no doubt everyone would revere him as the most beautiful maple leaf in the world – especially compared to his inferior brothers and sisters below.
Just as he relaxed to enjoy his brief flight, an antenna of a passing car attacked him from behind, “Ack! What was that? Help! Help me, someone, I’m stuck.”
His brothers and sisters ignored his cries as they floated past him, lifted and carried far away by the breeze. He thought he heard a few chuckles.
Trapped by the antenna, he called out as he was whisked away, “Don’t laugh at me you inferior leaves. Help me!”
Realizing there was no escape, he wrapped himself around the evil needle and hung on as he flapped and fluttered in the wind. He clung to the antenna as it went faster and faster.
“This isn’t fair. Stop. Stop, now, I say! You have kidnapped me from my intended destiny. You’ve stolen away my glory. Let me go. Please, let me go.”
The antenna did not listen to the perfect maple leaf. It merely traveled faster and faster. The leaf wrapped itself even tighter around the antenna and sighed.
“I’ve failed. I had such glorious dreams and now they are dashed. Woe is me. I’m a failure.”
The depressed leaf clung to the safety of the antenna, “I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t have a clue how long it will take. I only know I must hold on just as I did to my mother tree. I hope I have the strength to make it.”
As the journey took him further away from his home, the leaf relaxed just enough to observe his surroundings, “Oh, look at all those trees. My tree was much more colorful than they are. There’s one that’s red. There are some still green. Look at all those trees with shriveled, brown leaves. They should be embarrassed.”
The leaf thought, “I never knew there was such a large world beyond my tree. I hate to say it, but it’s actually quite beautiful. Maybe this wasn’t such a bad thing after all. Well, except for the fact that this stupid antenna took my life’s dream away from me. Actually, I was taken away from my dream. I was meant to be the most beautiful leaf in the world. Now I’m misshapen, flapping in the wind and drying into a shriveled remnant of my perfect beauty. I’m depressed.”
The antenna slowed to a stop. The leaf, tired from his journey thought, “I wonder what will happen to me now. I can’t even move enough to fall off onto the ground.”
A creature approached the antenna, giving the leaf a start. The creature reached out and carefully removed him from the antenna, being careful not to hurt him. Then the leaf heard the creature say, “Oh, you beautiful maple leaf. You held on all the way home. You came to me from the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. I will take you with me and preserve your beauty forever and you will remind me of this wonderful day for the rest of my life.”
The leaf perked up slightly in her hand as he thought, “Maybe I have found my destiny after all,” and smiled.