Secret of fallen leaves / 落葉の秘密

I went to the place called "mountain" for the first time. It was very much like the large hard bump we have on the bottom of the ocean. On the ground surface, though, we have to do the movement called "climb-up", rubbing the surface of the "mountain". Carefree bug was flying in the air, carefree. He said "It's too much work to climb if you don't have wings! Isn't it too uncomfortable to step on these rough bumps?" My air diving apparatus filled with water was quite heavy. Each time when I almost lost balance, carefree bug pushed the smooth surface of my air diving mask up with his tiny hand to help me. His hand was so tiny and the power I felt from his pushing up was as weak as a stroke of breeze. The feeling of climbing up with somebody who are trying to help me, though, helped me a lot. Something internal was pushed up by that feeling, and I didn't mind the pain of going on the rough surface at all.

Besides, the ground surface was covered with lots of fallen leaves. They were all different shapes and colors, and they were all beautiful. It was carefree bug who came up with the idea of coming to see the fall colors. He said, dancing and drawing circles in the air, "I usually got nervous at this time of year thinking about coming winter and how it would be cold. This year, though, I can just crawl under your fringe if the cold wind starts blowing. It's SO EASY!"

As soon as we arrived at the top, suddenly the panoramic view spread out before us. Beyond the mountain we just climbed up, there were another mountain and more mountains that seemed to continue endlessly.  The sense of vastness somehow brought me a feeling of strong happiness half mixed with strong loneliness. Even the carefree bug had to say in poet-like tone, "Oh. We are, so small.", sitting gently on a fallen leaf, looking far into the vastness.

We met a man who was walking around on the pile of the fallen leaves. I asked him if the leaves were happy or sad when they fell. The not-so-young man smiled and said, "Why don't you ask these fallen leaves?" Then he added, "The fallen leaves are great. They fall each year like this and eventually completely disappear into the ground. Then they sprout on the trees again in the spring. They are different leaves, but they are the same leaves!" I couldn't really understand what he meant yet. The carefree bug, though, screamed with excitement, "Yes, yes, that's it!" and flipped himself once in the air. 

sample point: Harriman State Park, NY




落葉がたくさん積もっているところを俯いて行ったり来たりしている人がいるので、枯葉は落ちる時に淋しいのですか、それとも幸せなのですか、と聞いてみた。その若くない男の人は、落葉に聞いてみたら? と言って笑った。それから「落葉は偉いねえ。こうやって毎年落ちて、そのうち地面の中へ消えちゃうんだよ。でも、また春になると、生えてくるだろう? あれは違う葉っぱなのに、同じ葉っぱなのさ!」と言った。わたしにはその意味がまだよくわからなかったけれど、のんき虫は「そう、そう、そういうことさ!」と叫んで、空中でくるりと一度宙返りをした。