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.

Monday, October 15, 2012

La belle feuille

The gusty autumn winds and chilly, frost-covered mornings of the past several days have proven to be too much for the aging leaves that were still delicately clinging to their branches in our neighbourhood.  Where last week I was looking out my kitchen window at a tree that glowed orange and golden like fire against the backdrop of a crisply brilliant blue sky, on Saturday morning I watched as the leaves from that same tree made their fluttering descent to the ground in a beautiful parade of luminescence, revelling in a last moment of glory before returning to the earth that gave birth to them. Our morning walks to school now are on sidewalks covered with scattered leaves that rustle and crunch as we step through them; our breath makes frosty clouds in the air and our noses are filled with the earthy scent of autumn.  There is sometimes a sense of sadness in these changes, it's true -- the howling winds seem harsh in certain moments, and the tree branches look lonely now as they reach their empty arms towards the sky.  Being in the company of a thoughtful boy who finds something beautiful in all of this, though, always helps to keep things in perspective.

One recent morning I was walking briskly with my eyes straight ahead and my hands jammed into my pockets, as if trying to somehow outrun the chilliness of the air around me.  Will was trailing several feet behind me as he often does, and his eyes swept the area around him in search of something that might catch his interest.  He suddenly called to me with excitement, and when I turned around he was beaming and holding a perfect maple leaf almost the size of his face.  The leaf was completely unflawed; its surfaces hadn't succumbed to the influences of wind and rain like the many curled brown leaves around it had, and it radiated gorgeous hues of red tinged with yellow. How Will noticed that one brilliant leaf among the hundreds of other fallen ones that were piled all over the grass and sidewalk, I don't know, but his discovery made me remember once again that there are always moments of beauty and inspiration around us if we keep our hearts open to finding them.

Will has forever been a keen observer and a boy who marvels at the extraordinary things he sees within the ordinary. His senses are extremely fine-tuned, and the many feelings he gets from his experiences can fill him to overflowing. There are times when this has made things difficult at home, and it's hard for me not to become frustrated when he repeatedly complains about his feet feeling too squished in socks, or his banana being either too firm or too mushy, or about how he can't sleep if the cat is looking at him.  But when he sees elaborate pictures in his piece of toast, or compliments me on a pretty new scarf, or finds a beautiful leaf resting quietly on the ground and shows it to me with joy in his eyes, I'm so very glad for his sensitivity. He can light up my world and put a smile on my face even on the grayest, coldest, rainiest day of the fall season. 

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