Friday, January 15, 2010

When Too Many Leaves Fall

THE EARTHQUAKE CATASTROPHE in Haiti, the boy soldier carried to his final resting-place in a coffin draped with a Canadian flag, the random death of an aid worker in the wrong place at the wrong time all bring to mind our fragile existence. Whether by natural disaster, manmade trauma or strange twist of fate our time on earth is uncertain and probably not fixed.

It would, indeed, be reassuring if we could depend on gracefully passing away at a ripe old age the way Freddy the leaf did in The Fall of Freddy the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia.

Buscaglia’s lovingly told story about the circle of life has been appreciated by all ages for nearly three decades. In the classic, Freddy has the good fortune to experience all the seasons the way only some of us do. Nonetheless, the tree and leaf metaphor is a timeless treasure that sensitively illustrates the interconnectedness of life and death. It speaks of a higher purpose and offers a simple yet comforting perspective of the inevitable. The book can be a useful tool to discuss life and death issues when questions arise during difficult times. Over the years, it has helped many through the process of grieving.

Of course, the extent of grieving is unfathomable in Haiti when one hears an unimaginable estimated 50,000 lost their lives within minutes when the earth grumbled and shook. Naturally, all hearts go out to the victims. The incredulous psyches of people everywhere have been deeply shaken.

These recent events, coupled with perpetual earthquake predictions in BC due to its fault lines, bring home the value of every moment and the uncertainties. Our place in time and in the universe is a riddle we have yet to solve. But along with the mystery and misery, precious moments inscrutably go by for anyone who cares to savor the fleeting miracle of being alive.

Postscript September 9, 2010:
Since the original writing of this article, it has been reported that as many as 200,000 people might have died in the Haitian earthquake.

1 comment:

  1. I so agree! When we feel helpless in the face of monumental disasters, sometimes, that response of understanding the value of every precious moment is a good place to start.


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