Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big leaf maples

If you have ever lived where it snows or has vacationed somewhere during a snow fall, you may have walked outside and appreciated the same thing I am about to describe.
Not every snow fall starts during the night even if we wished it would only snow while we are sleeping, but I delight in the times I have walked outside into the dark of night unaware of just where the clouds were (high or low) and like this little amazing miracle, flakes gently fall out of the dark sky.

In the fall, I love walking and watching the leaves fall from some tree branch, float and swirl, and then land upon the ground somewhere. I also love walking through piled up leaves and hearing the sound of my feet  crunching along and of course kicking through them. I also love to be behind a car that has just driven past some leaves on the road which kicks the leaves up sending them skipping, jumping, and swirling again before coming to rest in a new spot for the next car.
When I was in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade, we lived in Salt Lake City. We had a house with a big yard and a half acre of land out back that housed my sister's horse. This house came with plenty of fruit trees that dropped tons of leaves. You know who got to rake them up...the kids. One year I remember in particular having to rake them up into piles hoping to get them out to the garbage man, but I think we had a snowstorm before that could happen and they were with us all winter under a blanket of snow. The rotten part, besides having old leaves was we had to rake again in the spring and try again to get them out to the garbage or into a bonfire. The good news was we got to play in them two times. I can't even remember all the things we imagined our piles of leaves to be except for being a fort.

Seven years ago I went to Chicago in late October to be with my daughter and await the birth of her child. She was allowed to walk a little, but not as often as her dog Hannah needed to be walked so there were times I took Hannah out on my own.
Dogs and people are often at cross purposes when it comes to walk time. In order to get in a true walk, you need to keep the dog going and not have a sniff fest. In order for the dog to be totally happy, you need to allow them to sniff to their hearts content. I tried to have a happy outcome for us both by doing concentrated walking on the way out and sniffing on the way in. On one of the sniffing occasions, we were stopped underneath a medium sized tree. Hannah was as happy as she could be on a walk. I have no recollection about what was rattling around in my brain, but all of a sudden the tree dumped it's remaining leaves  surrounding me with all it's beautiful splendor. It was actually a cool thing and a neat memory.

Here in Woodinville where I live now there are zillions of trees and many big leaf maples. If there are big leaf maples out there that turn beautiful colors, they aren't nearby. These maples leaves may turn yellow and then go brown or some seem to skip yellow and go straight to brown. Many of them have spots of some sort.
The part that I love the most is how big the leaves can be. HUGE! 12 to 15 inches sometimes. There is just something about them that appeals to me and I can't resist picking them up.
This is probably where I should confess that I pick up a lot of different kinds of leaves. To me, they are free paper in a way. I rubber stamp on them, press them, and make what I call leaf frames.

Isn't nature glorious???

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