Impermanence or Semi-Permanence: Leaves as Centerfold and Key Players in Life’s Story

12 September 2012


I. The Leaf as Centerfold

1. Begonia Leaf, iPhone 4s, June 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

2. Magnolia Leaf, Rain and Shadow, iPhone 4s, July 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

3. Leaf and Garlic Scapes, iPhone 4s, June 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

II. Leaves as Key Players

4. Morning Shadows on Maple, Nikon DSLR, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

5. Morning Sun through Sycamore, iPhone 4s, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

6. Leaves on Pond, Nikon DSLR, September 2012; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2012

Let me know which is your favorite.


In my world September ushers autumn, usually with a slow steady pace. Still, each year is unique. Sometimes as we ease closer to the real burst of the season’s meaning, it performs with such startling actions that we are drawn to stare and woo each part of the drama. In truth its the leaf that is the star–the protagonist in this annual wonder.

My exuberance about this heroine is longstanding. You can read my post from June, which demonstrates my ability to gush about this rather humble part of Mother Nature’s progeny:

So it is not unusual to find me ambling through my gardens and other spots to see their changes. Without vigilance much can be missed and overlooked. Without daily spying one moment’s blend of beauty or decay can be transformed into another life form.

The leaf alters over time from too-tiny-to-visualize into reclaimed elements savored by the earth. They’re my gardens source of gold, adding rich compose that brings new-found nourishment for next year’s nourishment. And should I mention that they provide oxygen for us to BREATHE.

Most of a leaf’s life is spent nourishing flora, giving itself up as a vessel for the greater good. Vegetation is reliant on a combination of factors that includes the leaf as vehicle for its sustenance. This dedicated wonder deserves more recognition for its contributions.

They are perfect as mirrors into how a life cycle works. Still, they are rarely noticed or praised until they start their demise. People travel long distances to see autumn’s Broadway-like show. They can be dazzled by the concert of hues and multiple shades of singular or groves of plants and trees. Or they might find the forces of nature just did not perform with a perfect 10.

In the Lens section are small odes to this critical and glorious part of our own existence. It’s divided into two sections: The Leaf as Centerfold and Leaves as Key Players. A leaf can be appreciated for numerous reasons. For me their individuality and magnificence is part of their splendor.

Each has an artistic quality. One can be drawn to them at any stage of existence. We just must see what they have to offer, which can take close investigation to reveal unique qualities of their spirit.

While there is some attention given to the unfolding of a leaf in the spring, summer and winter are less kind to it. But then autumn arrives and gathers enough adulation to build a  larger and larger fan base.

Impermanence can jolt the senses and sensibilities. It raises questions and more questions. With the fluctuation in our climate worldwide, the leaf could become a centerfold for concern.

Still, its aging makes me think that it is representative of semi-permanence. After all the leaf begins and strolls through it birth, adolescence and adulthood. Then in only three seasons it is doomed to old age. But in that role it is a savior too. It becomes part of every part of every part. It decays and is reborn as something anew.

It seems their work is never done. I’ve decided it’s not a bad gig.

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of this blog.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Gardens and Gardening, Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Impermanence or Semi-Permanence: Leaves as Centerfold and Key Players in Life’s Story

  1. I can’t choose, I love them all. Each leaf is unique and as beautiful as the other. Each one has a story to tell and a magical season to share. The last simply says, “Awesome Autumn is here!”

  2. Let’s hear it for the world of abstraction, where we should all follow your example and spend some time.

  3. Marianne Green says:

    I like 4 and 6 best, especially the tree trunk in the sun. Your clever eye makes the most mundane things look beautiful.

  4. Amy says:

    Your pens described the cycle of life so eloquently. You post helps me think a little bit more than season changes but about “it decays and is reborn as something anew.” Thank you, Sally!

  5. my favourites : 2, 4, 6. Do I have something with even numbers?
    your post was something very different from what I usually read.. interesting, fresh, innovative and instructive. Thanks!
    Have a great day looking for more leaf themes!

  6. marialla says:

    I like your way of looking at your garden – you honour it by speaking of it as a livinjg, breathing place with which you can communicate. This is very good – I think you would like Penelope Smith’s book WHEN ANIMALS SPEAK (there are others but this is the one I currently discovered and am reading).

    • Marialla, I will take your recommendation about When Animals Speak. I find great comfort in the land, the earth. My mission is to return much of my small sanctuary into wildlife habitats (though groomed more than nature intends). I try to plant only natives, which not only belong in my region but can adjust to swings in the climate. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  7. Northern Narratives says:

    I enjoyed reading this post.

  8. mandaray says:

    Very beautiful. 🙂 I think the shot of the Magnolia leaf is my favorite, though. I definitely enjoy the idea of leaves as a centerfold.

  9. Gracie says:

    Excellent post, Sally! Beautifully written.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s