Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog

Lesson of the Leaf

An oak leaf frozen in a pond

Luv u Brobber Bill

Hello, fellow lover of all things green, If I may share the origin of a memoir underway titled The Lesson of the Leaf.

My beloved brother Bill passed away on December 21st. I was blessed to travel to Florida to be by his side in his last weeks. Several overnights in the hospital and hospice and heartfelt pillow talks I cherish as I will “Brobber Bill” forever – a brave, soulful man, by far advanced to most of us in terms of spiritual development. I call him my soulful twin as we went through school and graduated high school together.

“You graduated from here,” I assured him. In truth, the six months since his emergency trip to the ER on Father’s Day and diagnosis of Appendix Cancer with no prior symptoms has been a blur for me — a time to resonate for him. All that he has studied “is coming together,” he reflected, “It’s all about love.”

The origin of the The Lesson of the Leaf.

If I may tell one of Bill’s lessons, he shared as I gathered the courage to end the merry-go-round of my marriage, a tough time in my life. It was Election Day, and I drove from an attorney appointment to Town Hall to vote. Out of the blue, Bill called from his track phone – his affordable cell phone choice. Never before had he called in the middle of a workday, but he felt my energy and sadness. He also didn’t know the details of the marriage struggle until that day.

Bill asked if I had water nearby. He hadn’t visited me here and didn’t know about the brook in front of the house. He suggested I go there and find a leaf. Watch it maneuver through the current slowly, beautifully, and serenely.

“You see, none of us have control of the current — a parallel to the ebbs and flows in our lives. Our goal is to let go, trust, and live calmly and serenely rather than resist the flow. Like the leaf in the water.”

I’ve observed hundreds of leaves since. Thank you, my beloved brother; you will be with all that love you forever, “Sister” Mary

There’s more to the story in the Garden Dilemmas Podcast:

Haiku For You 7 of 81

Bill’s treasured Haiku I call the Lesson of the Leaf and the love of sharing his passion for Tai Chi.

I invite you to read a column about Bill’s Stones and listen to Episode 13 of the Podcast The Lesson of the Leaf.


Mary Stone, owner of Stone Associates Landscape Design & Consulting. As a Landscape Designer, I am grateful for the joy of helping others beautify their surroundings which often leads to sharing encouragement and life experiences. These relationships inspired my weekly column published in THE PRESS, 'Garden Dilemmas? Ask Mary', began in 2012. I dream of growing the evolving community of readers into an interactive forum to share encouragement and support in Garden and Personal Recoveries - seeking nature’s inspirations, stimulating growth, weeding undesirables, embracing the unexpected. Thank you for visiting! Mary

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