It was coming on towards winter and Susie, a leaf, was still hanging on the old apple tree. She couldn't understand why she was still there. All the other leaves had fallen off a long time ago but she was still hanging there. She was kind of dried up and a little crinkly but she was still there and wondering what's it all about? There'd been plenty of breezes but she hadn't fallen yet.
Fortunately she had friends that came around and visited with her. Her best friends were Mortimer the mouse and Andre her bird friend. They would come around and talk to her when they had a moment because their lives were busy like every one else.
As it was starting to get cooler, Mortimer had taken to telling Susie about the nest that he was building and Susie got interested in that and at the same time Andre stopped by. Mortimer and Andre were friends too. And Andre said, "Yes, yes." That he was also helping to build a nest that had to be very warm but it was difficult because there were twigs and there were some old feathers that he found around and he needed something to be like insulation to make the nest warmer.
Susie perked up when she heard that and she said, "What about the leaves on the ground that have already fallen?" And they said, taking turns since they agreed and occasionally talking over each other when they would get excited, "Oh yes, we have used a lot of those but there's something special that's needed and we're just not sure what it is."
Susie wriggled a little bit and she said, "Maybe you need something personal, something friendly because a nest is a special place. It's your home. It's where you'll have your children. It's where everyone will grow up and look back on it fondly and say 'home' in that special way we say home. Do you know what I mean?"
Mortimer and Andre looked at each other and they realized that she was right. "How are we going to do that," they said. "It seems to me," said Mortimer who was a deep thinker, " that a leaf like that…," as he looked on the ground and there were hundreds, maybe thousands of leaves there from the old tree that Susie was attached to as well as all the other trees in the forest. "It seems that there needs to be some kind of personal feeling in that leaf so that the friendliness and the love is there in the leaf itself. Does that sound right," Mortimer said looking at Susie.
Susie was quiet. She was thinking but Andre chimed in, "Yes, yes. That sounds exactly right. How will we find such a leaf?" Susie realized - this is why she was still on the tree. She said, "Maybe I'm that leaf! You're my best friends and I'd love to be part of your nest Mortimer and your nest Andre. Is there any chance, I mean I'm still on the tree. I haven't fallen off. Maybe that's what I've been waiting for!"
Mortimer and Andre looked at each other, "Would it be alright? I mean you're our friend. We'd feel a little funny about that because - you know - well, I'd have to take part" said Andre and kind of trailed off a bit and Mortimer chimed in, "And I'd have to take part" and also kind of trailed off a bit. Susie said, "No no, it's fine, it's fine. I want to do that." So they settled in to wait.
Meanwhile Mortimer was continuing to build his nest and Andre was continuing to build his nest and one day when the three of them were gathered on the tree limb where Susie still seemed to be, they saw a few snowflakes coming. "Oh my," they said, "What are we going to do?"
And suddenly without any warning Susie fell from the tree. "Oh boy," she said all the way down, "This is going to be my chance." There was almost no wind so she fell almost straight down.
Mortimer rushed to the ground and Andre flew down to the ground and they were both there moving around under Susie as she was floating down and floating down and finally she hit the ground and she could feel herself crackle and break up a bit. Andre gently stepped on part of Susie to keep her from blowing away on a light breeze that just came up and Mortimer softly stepped on another part and they said, "Are you alright? We're not stepping on you too hard?"
"No no," she said, "You did just right. Oh this is great," she continued. "Oh, I feel myself beginning to fall apart. I didn't realize that's what happened when leaves touched the ground."
"Oh yes," Mortimer said speaking wisely after his several years of building different nests, "Yes, crinkly leaves often fall apart almost immediately when they hit the ground," as they did in the forest where they all lived.
"Oh, you better be quick then," Susie said, "Quick. Take some parts. I want to be part of your nest Mortimer and I want to be part of your nest Andre and maybe, maybe there's enough of me." She felt herself breaking up even before they had a chance to do that.
She didn't know quite what was happening but it's really just part of the natural way of the Earth that things move from shape to shape. Mortimer said, "We better do this quick," to Andre as he noticed Susie breaking up into smaller and smaller parts.
Andre and Mortimer gathered up all of the parts they could find and raced back to their nests. They worked for a couple of hours running and flying back and forth to their nests with each gathering as much of their precious friend as they could.
All the time Susie felt like she was kind of sleepy. She would be there and then she wasn't and then she would be there and then she wasn't. She wasn't sure where she was going but she began to feel that she was going some place else. She didn't realize that would happen. Her last memories though as a crinkled old leaf were of her friends.
Meanwhile Mortimer was singing and he said, "Oh, my nest feels so much warmer and everyone will be so happy and Andre was singing, "Oh everything feels so much more loving and friendly and cheerful with my dear friend here."
But Susie wasn't only there. She felt herself rising up and she wasn't sure where she was going. She wasn't in the form of a leaf anymore but she just knew she was going somewhere. She went way up in the sky and she wasn't sure where she was going.
Suddenly she heard a voice, "Susie," the voice said, "It's time for you to go someplace much warmer and they'll be lots of new friends there and you'll even be able to hear Mortimer's songs sometimes if you want to and Andre's songs too, if you're interested, from their nests while they're wintering." "Oh my," said Susie, "That sounds wonderful."
"But now," the warm and friendly voice continued, "it's time for you to go to a new place where it's only and always warm and comfortable. It's in a different part of the world in a forest where there's lots of rain and where there are lots of other types of life. You'll like it there."
Pretty soon Susie felt herself very small and she vaguely remembered being small before. She realized she was in a bud on a tree and pretty soon the sun was shining. She could tell because she was getting warmer and she felt herself opening.
She felt herself sprouting from the bud and pretty soon even though she was very little she could tell she was deep in a warm and wonderful forest where things were quiet but in the distance she heard birds singing their songs and not very far away she saw - who was that?
It was a little mouse in her tree and the mouse said, "Hi. My names Willy. What's yours?" And Susie knew she'd found her new home.
Love lives on forever in many ways. May you have a most loving and happy holiday now and forever. Goodlife to you all.