Lucy the Littlest Leaf

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I’ve been asked many times where do my stories come from. Well, this is the story behind this story.

I had just picked up our two granddaughters, Little One and Sweet Caroline from school, and on the way home, we drove past a ginkgo tree in front of a grand house on Sycamore Lane. All the leaves on the tree were bright yellow except one.

I asked them the name of that one little green leaf. They didn’t know so I told them it was Lucy. They laughed. By the time we reached home, I had told them her story. I hope you like reading about Lucy, the littlest leaf.

Interesting thing about being different: there’s a time at the beginning of your life that you don’t realize you are. Fleeting as it may be, it’s still there. For Lucy, that time was spring.

Lucy was the littlest leaf of the gingko tree planted in front of the grand house on Sycamore Lane. Spring brought warming temperatures, ample rain and fresh tender leaves bursting out everywhere on her gingko tree. Although still a bit small, for a few wonderful weeks, she was indeed like all the other leaves.

But then the storm came, and with it, strong winds violently bent the tree this way and that. It was during the peak of the powerful storm that everything, for her, would change forever.

Suddenly, hurricane force winds started to swirl around the gingko tree, picking up debris off the ground: candy wrappers, an old newspaper, pinecones, and sticks. It was one of those sticks that tore through the middle of Lucy, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of the tender green leaf.

After the winds finally passed, she looked around at the damage to her tree. Some of the leaves were bent, others torn just a little, and some were gone altogether. During the storm, they had taken flight, but to where she didn’t know. The storm had affected them all, just in different ways.

But try as she could, Lucy couldn’t find a single leaf left on the gingko tree with a hole through its middle — except her. Weeks passed before she realized how different she was from all the rest.

Through the rest of spring the other leaves grew to full size, but Lucy’s growth was stunted because of the hole. When compared to the other fully sized leaves, her diminutive size only made her more different. In the fall, when all the other leaves turned a bright yellow, she didn’t change.

A week later, all the yellow leaves fell to the ground on the same day — leaving Lucy as the lone leaf still on the tree.

Days passed as the others lay on the ground, turning from yellow to orange. And each day they looked up at Lucy as they continued to make fun of the little green leaf with the hole through its middle.

With each mean comment they made, the bright orange leaves on the ground slowly changed colors to ugly brown, but still thought they were better than Lucy. Then one night something wonderful happened.

Early on a crisp October morning, Lucy the littlest leaf realized she had turned a brilliant shade of yellow, so bright the ugly brown leaves on the ground could hardly gaze upon her.

At mid-day she took flight on a brisk wind. She flew higher than all the other leaves before finally settling down on top of them.

All the brown leaves on the ground believed they were ugly and thought the now beautiful Lucy, even with the hole through her middle, would have nothing to do with them. Especially because of how badly they had treated her throughout the year.

But to their surprise, she didn’t see their ugliness. She never had. To Lucy, they were all leaves, and no matter what color, shape or size, leaves should get along and grow old together.

Everyone goes through storms in life, some worse than others. But when the winds and debris finally settle, they have time to survey the damage the storms in life have caused. It may be a little, it may be a lot, or it may even be so intense that it leaves a gaping hole right through them.

But with time, the dark clouds will pass and the sky will turn blue once again. And yes, like with Lucy, the hole will still be there, but it will heal. My mom always said, “Remember, out of everything bad, eventually something good comes. Bad stuff happens to everyone – you can’t control that. You can only control how you react to it.”

Lucy, the littlest leaf on the gingko tree in front of the grand house on Sycamore Lane, had a hole torn right through her. That’s pretty bad. But what no one could see was being different from all the other leaves is what made her so special.

Once home, I watched as our two granddaughters bounded from the car, escaping again to our backyard forest for some fun and tree climbing before homework began.

They’re as different as any two sisters could be. I don’t know what storms they will face in their lives, but I do know one thing. Unlike Lucy, they’ll not face them alone.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]