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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

The Sidewalk Map


Fallen autumn leaves on cracked sidewalk pavement

When I saw these leaves on a cracked sidewalk, I thought the divided pavement looked like countries on a map. I wondered: Do the leaves know something we don’t know?


The leaves don’t care what portion of the map they’re in. They don’t see themselves as superior if they have a bigger territory than another leaf has. They don’t hate or fear the leaves on the other side of the line.


The arbitrary lines on the sidewalk do not make leaves feel alienated from each other, just as a barbed-wire fence on the prairie cannot separate the wind from itself.


I often wish we could be more like leaves.




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