My way of life
Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf;
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.
It was a highly dreaded day of bitterly anticipated cold, of polar vortices and chunks of ice on the water. The Hudson had frozen over like I had never seen it before next to New York City probably because they’d been breaking the ice with machines further upstream.
It was a day of huge tree-cutting contraptions lodged on the roadsides, deathly stillness amidst falling snow on the roads which are usually populated by office goers and coffee mongers and food vendors on a weekday.
It was a day of eerie scenes when shrubs were covered with snow looking like rows of gigantic frosted cupcakes at a birthday party to which no one had come but the stony, metallic statues of important people whose beards had suddenly turned white with the powdered snow.
It was a day when there had been momentous obstacles to many momentous events in the city. Meetings had been cancelled, classes dismissed, transportation routes changed and hundreds of flights cancelled to domestic and international destinations.
It was a day when one was forced to think of goings-on slightly larger than life– of shifting Arctic air, of the the earth’s poles, the troposphere and the stratosphere amidst the chilling ruthlessness of nature.
It was on such a day that I went out on the road to see what it was like.
Having grown up and lived in the tropics and sub-tropics most of my life, I wanted to experience what cold and snow were like at these temperatures. I was granted my wish.
The snow was being lashed around by the icy winds. It slapped like a thousand needlepoints on my exposed face. Visibility was low and cars were crawling slowly crouched in fear along the road. I wasn’t sure if these city cars could or would stop for me on the slippery ice.
Very few people had come out on the road and hence the snow was still pristine white.
Amidst all these global atmosphereic shifts and large human crises this small leaf had fallen by the wayside on the sidewalk. It was soon going to be covered by the massive snow that was quickly coming down now. Its fall wasn’t going to block a road or stop a flight or summon the tree cutters or affect a municipal decision. It was just going to be quietly covered in the snow soon.
Being more used to the gushing force of tropical rains which lift such yellow leaves for a few glorious moments even in death before they are carried to the gutter, I stopped a moment for this fallen leaf whose quiet disappearance was now inevitable under this silent, feathery snow .
So I took out my phone and decided to chronicle its death before it was going to be lost forever.
Here it is, the leaf that is now gone quietly amidst the big construction machines and flashing emergency lights and the many trampling boots that emerged soon after the snow stopped.