WHEN YOU LEAVE A LEAF IN WATER
“And we’d sit in the dry leaves that whispered a little with the slow respiration of our waiting and with the slow breathing of the earth and the windless October …
Where the shadow of the bridge fell I could see down for a long way, but not as far as the bottom. When you leave a leaf in water a long time after a while the tissue will be gone and the delicate fibers waving slow as the motion of sleep. They dont touch one another, no matter how knotted up they once were, no matter how close they lay once to the bones. And maybe when He says Rise the eyes will come floating up too, out of the deep quiet and the sleep, to look on glory …
I could not see the bottom, but I could see a long way into the motion of the water before our eyes gave out, and then I saw a shadow hanging like a fat arrow stemming into the current …. The arrow increased without motion, then in a quick swirl the trout lipped a fly beneath the surface with that sort of gigantic delicacy of an elephant picking up a peanut …
I walked upon my shadow, tramping it into the dappled shade of trees again”.
William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (New York/London, Norton, 1987), p. 70-73)
Published on the eve of the Great Depression, on October 7, 1929, Faulkner’s novel speaks of numerous forms of fall and demise.
The autumnal leaves of the fictional October remind us of our transient turning, sporting one color now, shedding one tomorrow.
Quentin’s quest for comfort beyond the inner clouds gathering in his heart/
Benjy’s earlier remark about his sister Caddy smelling “like trees”:
Poetic—prophetic? —reminders of our kinship with swirling
leaves, flowing rivers and slanting sun beams.