Over the last month, their leaves have gone from yellow-green to green-yellow to full green. As I walked beside them on a windy day earlier this week, their boughs tossed and swayed with the deep sound of summer. As I came to the final willow in the row, a single green leaf floated down in front of me.
A random occurrence. Just one of those things.
When sorrow lays us low
for a second we are saved
by humble windfalls
of mindfulness or memory:
the taste of a fruit, the taste of water,
that face given back to us by a dream,
the first jasmine of November,
the endless yearning of the compass,
a book we thought was lost,
the throb of a hexameter,
the slight key that opens a house to us,
the smell of a library, or of sandalwood,
the former name of a street,
the colors of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date we were looking for,
the twelve dark bell-strokes, tolling as we count,
a sudden physical pain.
Eight million Shinto deities
travel secretly throughout the earth.
Those modest gods touch us --
touch us and move on.
Jorge Luis Borges (translated by Hoyt Rogers), in Jorge Luis Borges, Selected Poems (edited by Alexander Coleman) (Viking 1999).
Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935), "Flower Meadow in the North" (1905)