How to Catch a Falling Leaf
How to Catch a Falling Leaf
by Sarah Schneekloth
The number one rule is it has to be spontaneous. Planning such a sporadic event is bound to end in disappointment. Isn’t the whole beauty of life those unplanned moments when something so breathtaking happens you wonder if there actually is a little magic in this world? Let me put you in a possible scene right now, but don’t you dare try to copy this moment.
You’re on your lunch break from whatever it is you do on a weekday. A cool brisk breeze circles the courtyard. It brings you the fresh scent of fall as people around you trample over brown leaves curled into the fetal position. You know there is not going to be another warm day this year. You’re not wearing a jacket today because you refuse to get it out of storage before October. The breeze halts; red leaves, orange leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves and a few pristine green leaves float to the ground in a silent symphony. Setting your briefcase or backpack or shopping bag on the sidewalk, you walk onto the grass beneath the lone oak tree.
Before the spur-of-the-moment impulse hits, there are a set of techniques every leaf catcher should know. One: Quite obviously, you need a tree whose leaves are about to fall. You’ll know it when you see it, trust me. Two: Set yourself on the outer perimeter of the tree so all falling leaves will be within sight. Judging the direction of the wind is a difficult science but if you can master it, leaves will fall into your hands every time. Three: Ready position. This depends highly on your visibility to passerbys and your tolerance to embarrassment but I recommend the low football stance; hands in front, fingers wiggling. Whatever style you choose, be ready to jet. Four: Whatever you got to do to catch that leaf, do it. Practice is the only true teacher here but quickness and commitment are key factors. Always be prepared to dive if necessary. Repeat until successful and never get frustrated. Five: Hold that leaf in the air and high five all surrounding strangers. Six: Invite others.
And when you’re out there, breathe that fresh fall air. Feel the chill capture your lungs and hold it there, freeze time. Sit on the soil and lean your back against a thick trunk and stop thinking about time because that seed was planted long before you were born. This tree will celebrate countless more fall birthdays with natural confetti than you will blow out candles. At night the tree dreams of living in endless forests with streams so clear you can see the sun sparkle off the fish’s scales as it flows along with the current. At dawn, the tree wakes with the sun and stretches toward the sky, growing imperceptible amounts each day and by the time your grandchildren lean their backs against this tree, it will be twice as tall and stronger than ever. At the rate our schedules become increasingly full, I just hope their generation can pencil in time to catch a leaf or two.