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  • My friend and colleague, Joyce, is from Uganda. There are two seasons there: rainy and dry.

    I grew up in the flatlands of Illinois - prairie-turned-farmland punctuated by a few nature preserves where wildness still survives.

    Now Joyce and I share a town in Indiana. Distant lives on the globe who call the same place home.

    One fall afternoon, she turns to me and asks, "where do all the leaves go?"

    I explain the deciduousness of the trees - the leaves change color and fall when it gets cold. People who fear for the health of their lawns rake them into piles to be bagged and taken away by the city.

    Joyce shakes her head. "Yes, I know all of that. But where do they go when they've been taken away? Is there a place big enough to pile the leaves of the whole town?"

    A question I've always been too close to consider. I think for a minute.

    "That," I say, "is something I don't know."
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