Whenever I travel, I come home with new observations, new ideas, new insights. This past Thanksgiving trip driving to and from Ohio was no different.
But first, here’s a photo my younger granddaughter, Kendall (now 13), captured of Woody and Sasha on Thanksgiving morning.
She texted me her caption: Sasha is comfy.
I was tempted to write about our visit to one of Kendall’s rehearsals for the upcoming “A Never Ending Story” where she plays the lead (again). But no; you’ve all got your proud grandparent stories.
Instead . . .
Let’s talk about autumn leaves, since it’s still autumn (at least it was in Ohio when we were there).
While in Ohio, Woody and I opted to stay with an old friend from my past Ohio life. My son Jon already had six extra people squeezed into his three-bedroom home (with one and a half baths!). We spent each day at his house, but mornings and evenings were spent with Jeanne, in her spacious and comfy home on a tree-lined suburban street. That triggered an unexpected observation and memory:
I had not seen a pile of fallen leaves since I lived in Kazakhstan, where they burned them, to my guilty delight. Do you remember that smell? So distinctive; so agreeable; so toxic. And so illegal.
Here in Vermont where we’ve lived for thirteen years, we don’t even rake leaves. Before we got our chickens, we kept one container filled with dry leaves next to our compost bin so we could layer them with compost throughout the winter. Now that we have chickens who feast upon our compost (they are particularly drawn to moldy compost, but I digress), we don’t even collect that container. Instead, the leaves decompose back into the land, even on our “lawn.” Easy peasy.
But seeing those leaves piled neatly (for the most part) in front of each well-manicured lawn in the Ohio suburb, I recalled not just the ancient fragrance of burning leaves, I remembered a long-ago street with not-so-well manicured lawns. Around the corner from the apartment where I lived at ages seven and eight, stood piles of leaves along the curb ready to be burned. As I thought of that sight, the memory of jumping into those piles with my friends came back even more strongly.
In my mind, I returned to those long-ago piles, frolicking among them with my friends, tossing the leaves skyward, giggling madly. Sixty-some years later, I ponder why no one ever got upset that we had messed up those neatly gathered piles.
Maybe that’s because it was the kids who did the raking? Curiously, I have no memory of raking them back into the piles after we were done. Only of walking home, alone.
How about you? What are your memories of autumn leaves?
I have two more observations from my Thanksgiving trip, one involving public toilets. Shall I or shan’t I? Only time will tell.