Everywhere I look they stagger down; some settle like birds to ground, others mix with yellow butterflies in shifts of air. Dispelled from the parent tree by time's season, leaves break from the simple twig, that tightens cells as the calm sap cuts its flow. Sifting to earth they cover the rough ground with the color of change. Today a note came from young Tom, penciled on school paper. He's begun another year with the old plaint, ``too much homework.'' I visualize smudged sheets layered in discarded piles. And wish I might tell him that underneath the fertilizing leaves when spring comes, green seedlings unfold their learning wings and everything will be for him what it has never been.