When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Laughter in the leaves

This weekend marked the arrival of a fall event that the boys always look forward to at our house: the day of The Giant Leaf Pile. We live on a lot with many mature trees, and we spend one weekend day every year raking millions of fallen leaves into a monstrous heap on a tarp to eventually drag out to the front lawn edge for pick-up (once the boys have tired of playing in them, of course!). Matt and I usually rake at a furious pace while Noah and Will stand on the sidelines shouting, "More leaves! Make it higher!" before finally deciding that the pile is jump-worthy. I never mind this kind of work, though; the time spent in the refreshingly cool fall air with my little family makes a chore seem much more like fun.

There is a pure, simple, timeless joy to playing in a pile of newly fallen leaves; it's an activity that is good for your heart both literally and figuratively. I can still vividly remember hours I spent doing this as a child, first running and jumping wildy in the heaps that crunched and swished beneath my feet, and then lying perfectly still on my back in the centre of a mound, breathing in the woodsy, sweetly comforting smell while looking up at a brilliant sky and realizing that life was full of indescribable beauty. I enjoyed playing in the leaves yesterday with Noah and Will every bit as much as I did years ago. I loved laughing with them as they flew off the backyard slide to a soft, safe landing in the leaf pile below it, and as we all threw ourselves face down on top of the heap to stop the leaves from blowing away whenever a wind gust rushed by. When we all finally wore ourselves out, we emerged rosy-cheeked from the pile, wearing crumpled leaf bits on our clothes and grins that would last us all the rest of the day. It was a truly wonderful few hours.

As we watched Matt drag the last of the leaf pile out to the front yard yesterday, Will wistfully remarked that he wished we could keep the leaves forever. I felt the same way. Like the fall leaves, the boys' childhoods are bright and beautiful and fleeting; by the time the spring buds burst forth on our trees, Noah and Will will have grown and changed, too, and will somehow be more men, less boys. I am so glad to have been able to share those moments with them on a beautiful fall day. Our huge pile of leaves may be gone, but the memory of the fun we had will stay safely with me like a lovely autumn leaf pressed between the pages of a cherished book.

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