A maple leaf turned orange and gold on the top of a mountain in autumn. He was one of the highest things in the world. It was October, and each day the sun shone crisply in the bright-and-deep-blue sky.
The winds were strong at the top of the mountain, and for three days Maple Leaf held onto his branch, waiting for the just the right gust to come along and launch him into the air.
On the fourth day, when the sun and wind were strongest, he launched himself into a gust of wind and flew far into the sky. He was as high as hawks! And then he was much, much higher. It took his breath away to be so high, like being at the top of a rollercoaster. It was fun, and it was exhilarating!
From such a great height, it took Maple Leaf three days to drift and fall to the ground. He held himself open like a sailboat or a kite. He used his fingers to steer though the wind and breezes. He drifted for 300 miles to a part of the forest he had never seen.
As he floated through a final set of trees, Maple Leaf saw a cabin and decided to settle that way. He tumbled and fell slowly from branch to branch, catching breezes along the way. The whole time, he felt that somebody was watching him tumble, the way that people look at birds. He was right.
Mr. Handsome said: “Do you see that orange and gold leaf falling into the azaleas?”
Ms. Avignone said: “Yes. If our lives are half as remarkable as that leaf’s life, we’ll be doing very well!”