|Copyrighted art by Sandi Baron|
Each autumn season reminds me of one very special fall ten years ago. Our youngest son, Adam, moved to Seattle that previous summer. I was missing him so much.
I am always humbled by the beauty of the color of the leaves and the response of the trees to shed on God’s cue each fall. This colorful rhythmic pattern is evidence of our Father’s masterful plan.
I taught our sons to enjoy jumping in the leaves when they were small. Now I jump in the leaves with my granddaughters. It is the right of passage to celebrate the oncoming holidays.
I remember leaf collections were assigned as science projects in the fall. Adam and I would tromp through our neighborhood, the woods, and the unoccupied back streets searching for each kind of leaf. We would return, mount them as instructed, label them with the label maker, and gloat over our leaf knowledge.
However, this year there were no leaf trampers or rakers, or no leaf projects. I returned home and as I walked in the door the phone was ringing.
“Hey, Mom, I’m thinkin’ of fall...really miss the colors.”
“ No autumn in Washington?” I asked.
“Nope, just not the same kind of trees here. No golden coins flying through the air.”
“ Well, what was your adventure last weekend?” I asked.
“Climbed a trail. Saw a bear. Met a new climbing bud.”
“Oh, my gosh. That sounds exciting.”
“Hey , Mom, send me a fall photo, OK? Gotta run. Bye.”
I had an idea. I would collect leaves in the neighborhood and put them in a mailing envelope. I started my journey by walking across the street to the Calvert’s and Hill’s yards. They were outside visiting and I told them my mission and they entered in enthusiastically.
“Put in my red maple leaf. I know he will remember playing in these red leaves,” said the neighbor.
As I reached the corner, I explained to another neighbor my project ,and he chimed in, “ Hey, tell Adam hi and this is my best sycamore leaf.”
I rounded the corner and walked past his middle school principal’s house. I told him I was sending leaves to Adam, and he offered greetings and a perfect oak leaf.
Next, on the street was Adam’s former librarian, “ Here, take these two giant bronze leaves and tell Adam they remind me of him, shiny and bright.”
My collection was increasing as were the greetings. It touched my heart how neighbors admired their leaves and gave warm salutations of love. I continued collecting burgundy, gold, bright neon green, and golden leaves. When I returned home, I added the greeting each neighbor had sent on the back of the leaf they selected.
I mailed my package and waited to hear from Adam.
“Hey, Mom, my floor is filled with colored leaves. They even smell like Indiana. I really enjoyed all the notes from the neighbors. It feels like autumn. This is the best gift ever. I love you Mom.” I hung up the phone and his words have lingered in my heart for ten years. So, I share this very special autumn memory as I realize the leaves are all gone, and now I must prepare for winter memories.