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.

15 comments:

Polly said...

Oh...I love the crunching as well. I have recently discovered "acorns" or a sort. They fall off of all of these trees around here. (They aren't oak trees, so they aren't real acorns) They have the very best crunch EVER! I love to walk down the street and crunch them. It almost sounds like toasted pumpkin seeds. Maybe that's part of the joy.

Polly said...

BTW...I just left my URL on Monday linkies and totally wasn't paying attention. My time on the computer is about over...so Aidan had my attention and I totally messed it up. I posted my URL on the name part...so...it messed up the nice neat columns.
OY!

MERRIANNE said...

that was such a beautiful post!!!!!

wow!

by the way.... I TAGGED YOU ON MY BLOG!!!!!!! come see!

Dan and Jen said...

I'm so impressed with how you describe the simplest things! You are a very talented writer. And I totally know of the perfect crunching leaves and "Fun Ice" of which you speak. I still enjoy "Fun Ice" in the winter. Dan laughs at me as I make a point of stepping on it. And by the way, your 2-cents is always welcome on my blog. I enjoy hearing different perspectives. And I am sure it is a totally different experience to go into labor prepped with the coping mechanisms. And I agree, no matter how you do it and no matter the pain or lack-there-of, giving birth is probably one of the most amazing and spiritual experiences I've ever had in my life. You are awesome!

Kristin said...

Beautiful! As a kid, I loved those sounds too. I love how well you describe things... very poetic and enjoyable to read.

Leah said...

The colors of the fall leaves are always so pretty.

what a neat post

Travis said...

Such wonderful memories. You describe each one so that I can almost hear it and see it. Two little girls finding just the right crunch...and the giggles that followed.

Thanks for that.

bv said...

I love the 'assault on memory'! Keep them coming! I haven't heard any leaf crunching yet but I'm looking forward to it! We were up the canyon two weeks ago and I coudln't believe how many of the trees had already turned!!!

YummY! said...

Trees always seem to know the change of season before the rest of the world.

I love the sound of leaves crunching underfoot. Espically while walking on a path in the wood somewhere.

Carmy said...

so...uh...i never got any corn!!!

Maria Hart said...

Loved the corn. I ate three ears for dinner the next day! Can I say "Nanny! Nanny! Nanny! I got corn!" and still be an adult? I love the crunch of leaves as well. This is the time of year I am extremely homesick for New England. The first two years of my married life were spent in the deciduous-rich, tree-filled landscape of Connecticut. Our Idaho trees don't hold a candle to the New England fall. One other winter sound for your discerning attention, I love the dry snow here in the west... snow with just a hint of moisture... snow that crunches and groans underneath. I love that. (Also, can I confess without hurting your feelings that your new RSS feed widget is bothersome to me? I feel like I am being cyber-stalked by the all-knowing "Big Brother" who knows where I came from and where I am going in the digital realm. Part of what I love about online browsing is the anonymity of checking something out without having to commit to it, or comment, or even admit that yes, for the fourth time today, I was looking for some special hand lotion for my MIL, or that I read a blog written by someone I don't know, but I enjoy the anonymous chatter.)

polly said...

Okay...I totally have to concur with MaryHart. The comment about the RSS traffic thingy...kind of creepy. I didn't even notice it until she mentioned it. So,I checked it out a few time to see what it was actually doing...crazy...big brother is sort of right...lol

Clancy in Idaho said...

oh fine... ;) RSS Feed thingy...
admittedly, it's a little bothersome to me too, but very interesting! I wish I could have it without having to have it in my sidebar. I think it's interesting to see who's coming and going.

Rachel Chick said...

Love this post! So nice to have some of those childhood memories recorded.

Genene said...

Wow Clank,
How'd I miss this one? Awesballs!