I had just finished some jobs outside: collecting the morning's freshly laid eggs, replenishing the straw in the pig arks, checking the sow we think might be pregnant, feeding the ewes hopefully gestating next year's lambs, harvesting a cabbage for dinner.
I sat on a seat to take a break, and for the moment. It was a mild, still morning and, absorbing the view, noticed the green shoots of the winter wheat in the farmer's field opposite just coming through the brown soil. A future harvest to look forward to, of hope and expectancy.
I also watched the leaves slowly falling from the branches of the towering poplar trees that line our boundary (where "yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang"). As there was no perceptible breeze, it seemed as if each leaf chose its own moment to fall.
Another thought. Having worked for some years in the mental health field I've perhaps known more than the usual number of people who have taken their own life. One person who came to mind was, in fact, another mental health professional whose sudden departure took everyone by surprise, including their own distraught family. Even among those who had been known to mental health services in the previous 12 months, only around one third of suicide attempts, when evaluated, are regarded as having been predictable; two-thirds are not. In any case, a completed suicide nearly always invokes a sense of shock among those who know (and indeed some who don't know) the individual concerned.
The feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that accompany serious depression; certainly. Or escape from the torment of psychosis; regrettably all too frequent. Occasionally a trigger event. But sometimes someone's suicide, on the face of it, is not always fathomable. Nevertheless, even the very leaves of a tree are numbered.
A Parting Leaf to the Tree
You did not notice my life crinkling at the edges,
The rich green slowly sapping away.
We once provided succour for each other,
Until I felt there was no return.
I went unheeded amid the safety of your canopy
But now could hide no more.
An imperceptible barrier between us grew;
Was it for my protection or for you?
Still I clung fast even as I faded,
As my hold slowly degraded.
I wasn’t pushed; I dropped quietly away.
I felt my time had come.
© Notes from a Suffolk Smallholding