A maple leaf fell in wind swept swirls,
then touched the concrete sidewalk
and trembled the world.

Paul picked up the wind-pushed leaf
after it scraped a groove in the sidewalk
and examined variations of umber.

The leaf weighed too much for a leaf.
The leaf weighed too much for a metaphor for guilt.
The leaf weighed about the same as liberty.

Paul saw his younger brother
in this leaf let go by the tree.

He saw the fallen of the Afghanistan war
in all the many leaves at his feet.

Sadness swept Paul like the wind swept his coat and face.
Sadness swept dust and ash into the bullet hole that killed his brother.

Paul decided his brother did not die,
but positive thinking had no power this time around.

He decided to be against death.
Swept from its tree by a chill wind another leaf fell.

When the leaf touched the dried grass,
a concussive explosion reverberated.

Paul knew within his six-degrees-of-separation-world
another person died somewhere.

Paul stopped for a moment to think about this.
He realized death could not be fought with any hope of victory.
He decided to fight despair instead.

After three more leaves fell and shook the earth, Paul realized
kindness was the only tool available for the fight against despair.
He decided to invest his life, his life savings, in kindness.

He decided to spread kindness to everyone he knew.
Paul cultivated an infectious smile
and became the Typhoid Mary of kindness.

copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney


I find practicing the simple kindnesses very effective at creating what I label a good day. Actions like saying please and thank you, listening when other speak, doing what I say I will do, maintenance (dishes, laundry, etc.), saying “I love you” to the people I love, keeping in mind we are all human with human limitations and so on. Small actions that inform others I value them.

Not overburdening myself with a taxing agenda is helpful. It allows for serendipity, which I find delightful. Keeping the childhood notions of delight and wonder in mind, during the day can change the ordinary into extraordinary.

Love & Light


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