Friday, November 7, 2008

Catch a Falling Leaf

In which I do not present a video Little People-u-mentary of Fahrenheit 451 because I did the below instead. It's coming, I promise.

You may remember I have a little bit of anxiety about the approaching Michigan winter. Today I realized why it's so bad this year: fall can't be fall until I catch a leaf.


Have you ever tried to catch a falling leaf? One that's come off the tree and danced on the wind? No?

Go try it. It's the most fun you can have in fall.

The best thing to do is to find a giant tree. An oak will do. You need a windy day and some friends. Twenty-five first graders will do. Stand under the tree and wait for leaves to make the leap off their branches. Pick your leaf as it falls and try to catch it before it hits the ground.

It is much harder than it sounds. The leaves dip and get carried off. You chase them in circles. looking up, hands out and mouth hanging open. You crash into friends and fall into the mud. Your hair blows into your mouth. And the feeling of satisfaction when you get one is delicious.

I went for a run today and the oak leaves were flying. I saw the one I wanted, reached out, and caught it without breaking stride. A teenage girl was running by in the other direction.

"Sweet grab," she said, and I beamed. When I turned back, she was trying to catch one as she ran.

When you find your leaf, bring it inside and put it somewhere safe, where you can glimpse it while you go about your business. It will bring you luck, someone told me, and a reminder that the seasons keep changing and all the whining in the world can't stop them. And that's okay.

Winter is coming and we'll be locked inside soon enough. Today, go catch a falling leaf.

23 comments:

Ann Finkelstein said...

Great post, Jacqui. Thanks for brightening my day.

Mary Witzl said...

You have made me SO ENVIOUS! We are told that it does get cold here, but it's still hotter than it ever was in Scotland all summer long. Last night we didn't need a blanket on the bed, and when I'm teaching, I'm miserable unless the air-conditioning is on.

So the thought of catching brightly colored leaves on a brisk, chilly day fills me with an aching longing. The trees are changing in Scotland too and we're not there to see it.

Remind me to come and visit this blog in February...

Beautiful post.

Tabitha said...

Great story! I think I'll take my boys outside to catch a leaf today. If it's not raining, that is... :)

C.R. Evers said...

Great post! Gave me a vivid mental picture too!

Have fun leaf catching.

Christy

Diane T said...

Catching a leaf sounds like fun, if you have the vision for it. For me, though, the best part of fall has always been scuffing through the leaves that fall onto the sidewalk. I grew up in Treetown (Ann Arbor), so I had many walks home from school which I spent shuffling through piles of leaves, kicking them up and watching them settle down again. The scuff-scuff noise is so satisfying, and the piles keep replenishing themselves despite people's best efforts to keep them tidy. Too bad my own neighborhood is filled with honeylocusts, whose tiny leaves don't make good scuffing; but as I walk through Ann Arbor, I still enjoy a good scuff now and then.

Elise Murphy said...

The girls often collect the fall leaves and then we press them between wax paper and put them in the windows.

We have moved on from fall to biblical rains here.

I must got build my ark.

Bad sign . . .my word verification had arc in it (maybe it meant advanced reader copy)

Jacqui said...

Thanks, Ann and Christy!

Mary, I hear you. But do come back in February, when I will most likely be back to whining!

Tabitha, have fun!

Diant, Tink and I walk a mile home from her school every day and she scuff-scuffs the whole way.

Elise, the rains and (gulp) snows are supposed to start here tomorrow. And yes! Take it as ARC, and a good omen...

cindy said...

what a fun whimsical post. love it! it's still so hot here. we truly don't have much in the way of seasons. i'm not complaining tho!!

The Bill Cochran said...

My new pool caught a whole bunch of leaves... Like so many leaves my pool man quit. Seriously.

Jacqui said...

Cindy, maybe Mary and I should come see YOU in February instead, okay?

The Bill, don't fall in that pool looking up and trying to catch your own, okay?

Nora MacFarlane said...

Love it! My daughter and I like to collect leaves then create leaf art. The colors and textures of fall make it great fun.

J. Thorp said...

I'm late to the party, J, but this really was a beautiful post. Thank you!

Jill Corcoran said...

I love this, Jacqui! I didn't realize you were so coordinated.

Jill Corcoran said...

Bill--you have got to buy a Polaris. It is a pool-saver!

Angela said...

Ah... I love this time of year.

And you don't have to be "locked up" in the winter do you? Winter is fun too.

In the spring I love those heliocpeter things that you can put in your mouth and buzzzzz louder than loud.

I was in Michigan this time last year...

Rena said...

I loved this post!

Thanks Jacqui -- :)

Jacqui said...

Nora, I always SAY we're going to do that, but never have.

Thorp and Rena, thanks! Thorp, you're never late; it's always party time here.

Jill, me neither!

Angela, I love playing in the snow. It's the cold, slush-ice for four months on either side of the snow that makes me want to hide.

Brenda said...

I love this post..I'm surrounded by yellow, orange, and red leaves falling from the trees and I'm going out right now to catch one...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful tradition...

Liza Martz - Cogitations and Codswallop said...

Oooh, what fun! I must go outside immediately and catch one before they have all joined the sodden heap of dead leaves on my lawn.

Jacqui said...

Brenda and Liza, I hope you both caught a good one!

The wet sludge is heading my way, I fear, Liza.

tammi said...

Sweet post. :)

Colorado Writer said...

This is a great post! Thank you! It's very warm here, but all the leaves are gone from the trees in my cul-de-sac. We are ready for snow. Of course I'll be whining in Feb.

Bill. You have a pool? Wow.

sruble said...

Catching leaves is so much fun! I haven't done it for ages. I'll have to see if I can find a big leaf falling (instead of on the ground, like they usually are when I see them).

Cool that you made a good grab in front of the teenager :)