Ty’s preschool teacher asked each student to bring in fall leaves for an art project.
Not green or brown, but fiery red orange leaves.
How is this possible when it’s a billion degrees outside and Southern California has not received the Fall memo? I consider the fastest route to Boston. Orange and red leaves. Please. Perhaps Karen, my East Coast deriend (dear friend) can overnight some from her front yard.
Nonetheless, on a Fall Leaf Hunt we go. Ty on his trike, his focused head down and arms bent in half circles. Tanner dons a red helmet, similar to the color we hope to find.
As I sip iced coffee from an old mason jar the boys set out on wheels. I stroll behind. From the driveway, brown shriveled tree offerings scatter sidewalks, and the thought crosses, then exits my lips.
Maybe we should get in the car and drive to another neighborhood to find red and orange leaves. You would’ve thought I told them Halloween had been cancelled.
No mom, we’ll find them. We just have to look. This way. Ty motions left and four wheels fly by, long brother shadows, mine following, the sun toasting our backs.
Me of little faith. Trees waved from sidewalks, the only colors in sight are greens and browns.
Ty sees it first. Lighting a lawn on fire, a red leaf sizzles. Mom, look! A Fall Leaf.
Our youngest jumps off his bike and proudly waves the leaf like an American flag on the 4th of July. Crimson Fall Leaf smiles in the light, catching veins and yellow flecks, turning in his hand like a delicate ballerina. Into the basket she goes, and back on their bikes, brothers pedal on.
Suddenly sidewalks and streets and lawns invite a confetti of Fall Leaves. Orange, red and squash yellow hues with brown dots. Skinny and scribbly in shapes. Robust with Fall. Our basket overflows with what the boys believed was out there, but I doubted from my driveway vantage point.
Fall Leaf Hunt continues with acorn discoveries and neighbor waves. As we round the corner, Ty sings loud to the tune of Dory’s voice in Finding Nemo. Just keep looking. Just keep looking.
And so we look. Up and around and in gutters and on lawns for the next Fall Leaf with no agenda, no hurrying, but simply to enjoy the search. To look past our vantage point. To look beyond.
I almost missed this. I was so quick to throw them in the car and drive to Boston for Fall Leaves. And all we had to do was walk down the street and discover beauty in our own neighborhood.
How thankful I am for sons who invite me to look. To search and hunt and walk a bit to find beauty in the everyday. What would’ve been overlooked if passing in a car, was found by feet and bike pedals and eager eyes searching for the Fall Leaves in a crowd of brown shriveled tree offerings.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” – C.S. Lewis “The Magician’s Nephew”