Don't Leaf Me

August 23, 2013

Thanksgiving is nearly here and there are so many things to give thanks for. Like leaves. Right after Halloween, I stumbled upon a heap of catalogs and old books that gave a tell-tale crunch as I lifted them. A crunch from the stacks of old leaves I jammed in there.

When Teen Spirit was toddling, we would walk around town collecting pretty stones, acorns and leaves – pressing the leaves in books to flatten and save them. Sometimes we’d decorate with them, other times we’d use them as Thanksgiving name cards. We spent a lot of time choosing the most perfect ones we could find. And always over the objections of Daddy-O who protested that we were dragging dirty, dead debris all over the house. Sheesh, made me feel like a hoarder.

I realized recently that some of these hidden stashes date back to the actual days of Toddler Spirit. Let's just say, they're vintage collectibles now. All of a sudden, I AM a hoarder. 

It took longer to persuade La Principessa to get into the season.  But now she does stroll with me  around town to pick up the cast-offs from our favorite trees. But as often happens with mothers and daughters, we share slightly different visions. When hold hands in a pinky-swear clasp, walking along. I pick up the occasional treasures, show them to her, then tuck them away in a pocket or bag for safekeeping. She wags her head in exasperation and bellows, “Noooo.” She plucks the found objects from their hiding place and liberates them promptly. But then two steps later she grabs fistfuls of crunchy, brown, curled leaves from the gutter and yells, “This one.” We hold them for awhile and they too are freed to the wind while she laughs.

So she got hold of a few volumes of our those catalogues, our "Collected History of Leaves" (or would that be "History of Collected Leaves"?) She gave them a good shake while twirling around the family room --- like a mini-leaf blower showering the room with papery bits and dust. Watching a thin layer of compost land on the carpets, I could feel the slo-mo ‘Nooooo” working up from my gut.  But she was enjoying herself so much, loving the beauty in each and everyone of those crunchy brown leaves,  I couldn't stop her. 

The house now needed a good raking but so what? She laughs a big deep chuckle, whether those leaves are blown to the wind or under the living room table. Even those dry, curled up ones I would have overlooked.  She makes me think of the mighty oak waiting inside every acorn.  And that those brown crunchy leaves might have been a gorgeous orange or yellow once. She reminds me that every little leaf and sweet tiny acorn deserves its due. And I’m thankful for that.

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Thanksgiving is nearly here and there are so many things to give thanks for. Like...