Leaves of Joy – Falling in Love with Fall, 1970s Style

I’ve always loved the fall, especially here in the Pacific Northwest. The air is bracing, the colors wow the senses, and I  feel like a kid again. For NaBloWriMo Post # 2, I will share a memory of fall from my high school years, and it is a favorite one.

Debate Team Trek

The year was 1970, and I was on my high school debate team. We had just finished a tournament at the University of Washington, and several of us were walking back from events on campus, chatting about the day. It was about this time of year, late enough in the month for the gardeners at UW to have raked leaves into huge piles. (And on the UW campus, fall leaves in October are legion.)

Inner Child – Front and Center

Keep one thing in mind here: this was before someone coined the phrase “get in touch with your inner child”. That day, I got in touch with my inner child. Oh, my, yes. I took one look at an enormous pile of leaves, excused myself from my fellow debaters, turned around, and faced that mountain of leaves.

Inner Child Discovers Reality

I braced my feet on the bricks and took off running…straight for those souvenirs of fall. The leaves must have been six feet high or more. I launched myself right into the middle of the lovely hill of crunchy, fluffy leaves, landed on my back, and guffawed as the leaves settled beneath me. And then, I sank lower…and lower…and lower……and then my Inner Child discovered that the pile of leaves was wet. And cold. And in a few places, gooey.

True Friends and Memories

About that time, the rest of the debaters turned around, watching my shenanigans in disbelief. Snickering, they pointed at me as I sank further into the pile of leaves, closer and closer to the middle of the pile. I am not sure who was more surprised: me, or them. Perhaps they thought it was out of character for me to do something like that. (How little did they know!)

It may not have been one of my finer moments, but heck, it was fun.

Forty years later, the memory still makes me smile.






4 responses to “Leaves of Joy”

  1. Chris says:

    So sorry I don’t remember this! Was I one of the snickerers? Sounds like fun until the gooey part. A Northwest phenomenon.

  2. Vanessa says:

    I grew up in Ontario and the leaves are typically much dryer. The rain fell with less frequency and the leaves dried out between showers. No one raked wet leaves because they were much heavier (and messier) when bagged.

    I let my kids play in a pile of Northwest leaves last year and quickly learned the difference between wet and dry leaves. I don’t think I ever got their pants and coats clean again.

  3. Chris:

    You’re so funny! I honestly don’t remember if you were in the group I was walking with that day. And no one was snickering in a mean sort of way. If I implied that in the post, I apologize. I think John L. and Grant were probably there, maybe Sharon and a couple other people. You very well may not have been there. But I surely had fun. (And haven’t done it since, as I’d kill myself.)

    Good to hear from you!

    Sarah M.

  4. Vanessa:

    Yeah, I bet the wet leaves made an incredible mess. Of course at 16 or 17 or whatever I was at the time, I absolutely wasn’t thinking of laundry! ;-D

    There’s just something magnetic about fallen leaves for me!

    Sarah M.

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