The dried leaves crackled as their pace slowed through the fallen foliage amidst the tangled trees. "The leaves are falling Bill."

"Why yes they are… does that strike you as odd for any particular reason?" Bill glanced at his friend with a confused sidelong look, wondering what thoughts were flowing through Miles' intricate mind.

"No, the leaves fall," he spoke and paused a moment as if reflecting. "They are meant to fall."

"Do you think about this often Miles," Bill paused waiting for a response. "About the leaves that is?" Bills expression had turned from that of confusion to that of complete bewilderment.

"Not at all" he responded in a whisper, "But maybe I should. Maybe we all should. You see, they fall and no one even notices. Maybe leaves and humans aren't so different Bill."

"I'm truly sorry," Bill replied "But maybe you care to further discuss this topic with me, for I am now utterly lost in the complex jungle that is your mind."

"You realize humans wilt… They fall, they wilt and they die. And nobody even notices anymore. One day they are hanging lively from their branch, and the next moment they have wilted and died, crackling beneath the shoe of some ignorant fool. It's horrible Bill, to think that someday I too will fall. Just one more leaf amidst the thickly covered ground of the park."

Miles seemed on the brink of tears as he explained this to his friend, and the amazement of it all struck Bill deep as he stared back at his tired friend, a man who seldom cried.

"People are meant to die Miles. Leaves are meant to fall, and the world is meant to change. It always has, it always does, and it always will." He had crossed the brink of bewilderment, and now for almost no reason at all was almost upset with Miles' inability to comprehend the simple facts of life.

Miles spoke in a desperate frustration now still fighting the tears. " Yes… you are right. Seasons do change all the time. Fall, winter and spring."

"And summer as well" Bill added in

"Yes summer too Bill… summer too." Miles sighed deeply now still in contemplation. "I just wish the leaves didn't have to fall."

Bill now spoke in a sarcastic tone. "Maybe you need to get yourself a place in Florida Miles. It will take your mind off the falling leaves."

"I'm sorry I brought this up Bill. I must have bored you terribly with such foolish things." The hurt on Miles' face was painfully obvious as Bill regretted his comment. His friend needed an ear, and he had not provided one well enough. "Well I must go now Bill, I have things to do"

"Ok Miles," Bill said and paused a long moment "and anytime you want to talk about… leaves, I'm here for you." Miles just nodded and walked slowly away, but as he did, he turned and spoke something that Bill heard clearly enough, and it continued to ring in his ears. He spoke it to himself several times in contemplation before he walked on, now with tears in his own eyes. "'And Bill, not all leaves are forgotten. Some live on long after they have fallen. Be careful Bill that your leaf doesn't get trampled.'" As Miles had said this he pointed behind Bill before he turned and walked away. And Bill had turned to watch as a single leaf fell from the tree behind him, while a little boy waited gleefully as it fell toward his hand. The boy stood there with a smile on his face as he placed the leaf in his pocket and ran off into the distance.

As Bill walked toward his apartment the image was still fresh in his mind. As the chilling fall breeze picked up, the leaves on the ground stirred, and he caught the site of a wilting tree with but one leaf on its branches clinging tightly despite the terrific winds. "That is Miles," he thought as he walked over and plucked the leaf from the tree and carried it off toward his apartment to place it on his windowsill. And once more the breeze died down as the leaves settled in their places.