Monday, October 6, 2008
Manic Monday: Leaf
This picture is exemplary of our autumn this year in Idaho. A color-shifting leaf in the still-green grass. It has been a beautiful fall this year with crisp mornings and warm, sunny afternoons. Perfect.
My mom has a huge garden... probably a quarter of an acre... in which they have row after row of corn, among other veggie-delights. They have been out of town and asked that I go and pick some corn. I picked. And picked. And picked. I might have picked three of the fifteen or so rows that they have there and I had three garbage bags full of corn! That's a lot, in case anyone was wondering. I couldn't possibly eat all this corn (plus D's been out of town so that's one more corn-eatin' mouth I was missing) so I started giving it away. I gave some to neighbors, friends, and I had something to drop off to one of my tenants so, naturally, I brought corn with me to give to them. There is a point to all of this... be patient.
I was on my cell phone so I was distracted as I walked up to their door . I knocked, realized they weren't home and hung the corn and some smoke detectors on the doorknob. I finished my phone call, and, as I walked back to my car (sans distractions), I heard it and felt it. The perfect crunch of the leaves under my feet. Without warning I was thrown back to the autumns of my childhood. My sister, Lacy, and I looking for those leaves with just the right crunch as we walked ourselves home from school. I never knew which tree they fell from, but they were small and would curl up just so after their descent from their lofty summer perch. We would seek them out and CRUNCH! For some unknown and inexplicable reason, this brought joy to our little child-hearts. The assault of memory didn't stop there...
Sounds were important to Lacy and I. Images were brought to mind of some sort of seed that dropped from some other unknown kind of tree. They were about the size and shape of a pea and we would chase around looking for that little group of seeds. When we found our treasure, we would roll our foot over them in just the right way and grin at each other. Those little seeds had a POP that was, somehow, a little bit of heaven.
Fall came and went and the season changed to winter, bringing it's own set of special sounds. The muted world of freshly fallen snow was a quiet joy that I kept all to myself, but Lacy and I had our very own fun, winter sound too. This one we had a name for. "Fun Ice" it was called. You know where a pock in the sidewalk had a little bit of snow that would melt in the daytime and freeze in the nighttime? Just a little thin sheet of ice would form and it would be hollow underneath. Or it might be in a bigger crack of the sidewalk or perhaps something in the gutter... but the important thing was the certain type of ice that would form on these imperfections in the ground. Our ten-minute walk home from school would often stretch into two hours in pursuit of "fun ice". The noise it made... a delicate crunching and popping sound was far superior to the leaf crunching or seed popping of the fall. "Fun ice" was, by far, our favorite of seasonal sounds.
But as much as "fun ice" was my favorite, I am profoundly grateful right now for the certain crunch of small leaves that I experienced Friday. It's incredible that a simple sound could bring back memories of innocent, quiet times with my gentle sister which, in turn, could have my eyes burning with almost-tears for the simple joys of being alive.