Some leaves have holes.
Others are holes.
All leaves are holes in the light. When they are alive, they place themselves there.
When they are dead, they are like the rest of us: just happening to be hanging around.
Or so it seems, but even humans make sure they sit out in the light.
Like leaves. We say it’s because we are “visually oriented” and can “see” there. But what is sight? A capacity our non-human ancestors have given us, to touch light, photon by photon as it rains down on us from the sun.
Human life touches light for far more than “seeing.” For one, human eyes sort light before sending its imprints to the human brain, so what we see is already made into us before we even “think” about it.
That’s not just quite right, is it. The eyes, the touch, the physical approach, is the great thinking. We call that “noticing”, and then turn and think about it. That notice, that “catch of the eye,” what an artist might call “having an eye”, has come to us down a chain of unbroken perception stretching back around 500 million years. Look at those maple leaves above. You are a mollusc viewing them as you have evolved over 500 million years, all at once. It is older than leaves.
The new kids on the block, they’re only looking across 380 million years. So, that’s the cool thing, right. We might have eyes, and might be tempted to think of eyes as leaves, but, really, shouldn’t we be saying that leaves are eyes? And whereas our eyes create sight, all sorted into patterns, the eyes (leaves) of trees (and bushes and flowers and so on) create sugar. Out of our patterns, we create thought. Out of their hydrocarbon crystals, plants create branches, and, among other things, apples.
And when you take a bite out of that eye, well, hasn’t the tree just made a mouth for you, a hole in the sun out of which all life flows? And aren’t our eyes that as well: mouths, that, like leaves, eat the sun?
It’s the holes in light that count!