Age and Youth in Action

Judith Peck, Ed.D.

The dry leaf leaps across the white frozen surface born by a breeze like the brilliant ideas galloping in my head. But then it stops. Is this to collect itself, in need of another push or buried beneath a soft patch of snow? I wait and for minutes there is no movement, when along comes a squirrel. Needing no more than its amazing self it takes the flat surface full throttle, races up the trunk of a tree without slowing and high in the sky leaps to one branch then another before scampering out of my sight. It knows what it must do and does it all year long, no matter the weather, the wind, who’s watching—dazzled as I am by its daring feats—or perhaps even its age. (Have you ever seen a slow-moving squirrel?)

The lone leaf, disabled, does not move, its previous life lived on a branch and bathed in sun long gone, is surely now imbedded in the snow. Stuck.

But wait. The tree tops sway against the gray sky, a swing clamped to twin trees tilts forward and back without a rider. There is a breeze. The leaf with a lilt in its rise takes off in the direction from which it came, bouncing like a sleigh across a bumpy terrain.

I no longer see the squirrel or the leaf. They go on—or not—as I will them into action. Seeing in the Dark