Dry Plants

When I was a boy, I had this habit of taking a small leaf and putting it in a schoolbook inside its pages. After a while, the leaf became greenish-brown. When dried, the leaf transformed into a beautiful piece of craft, with its clearer linings.

Fascinated seeing the change in the leaf, its colours as it became harder and firmer; a joy a small boy could get captivated and hooked in.

As a kid, I saw beautiful patterns from dried leaves. I began to see nature inside my schoolbooks. It was a lesson in nature.

I have continued this habit of mine and my fascination with dried leaves, some nine thousand kilometres away from where it began many decades ago.

My beloved adopted country, Australia has many native plants that can withstand heat. When I go for walks, I see them in the wild. Their green is unique. A green I am yet to find in other countries I have visited.

Sometimes, I pick a twig or a branch of a plant and bring it home. Eventually, when they wilt, they change colour, gradually, first to a dried green and eventually to a greenish-brown. It reminds me of the temporary nature of our own lives. It reminds me of my schoolboy habit of dried leaves in my books, that changed colour in front of my eyes.

The native plants picked up during my walks, now adorning my home. These are eucalyptus varieties.

I feel the beauty of dried leaves is the fact that I have deferred the end of the leaves for a short while. I give a new life of its own to the by preserving them a little more. I accept that the leaves will wither one day. I know that when I bring them into my life.

My dried plants and leaves were once fresh. They had a life of their own one time. Their beauty is in their temporary nature. Their beauty is in their fleetingness and my effort in extending their life.

The collection on the left was once a bunch of flowers, gifted from a colleague before she left for the UK in 2020; The bunch on the right is a collection of fallen twigs picked by my eldest daughter Tash in 2018 when we visited Norman Lindsay art museum in the Blue Mountains.

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Denzil Jayasinghe

Denzil Jayasinghe

Lifelong learner, tech enthusiast, photographer, occasional artist, servant leader, avid reader, storyteller and more recently a budding writer