Monday, September 28, 2009

The Time of Falling Leaves

Back home in the Finger Lakes it is the time of falling leaves. It is a time when all the landscape seems touched by a broad Indian paint brush - gold, orange, and red. This land was once the hunting grounds of the great Seneca chiefs, Red Jacket and Cornplanter.

At the lake, September was always the time to close the cottage for the winter. Overhead flocks of migrating geese would honk their way down the lake, as the grown-ups busied themselves shutting off the water and taking in the boat dock. We kids had other things on our minds. We carefully raked, and laid out the rooms of leaf houses. Later in the day, we piled the leaves into high stacks - just right for running leaps and jumps, or for playing hide and seek. When it got close to dark, my father would rake it all together and set it alight. Together we would watch as fragrant burnt leaf offerings made their way into the night sky.

In town, we kids skipped down the side walks of tree-named streets: Oak, Chestnut, Elm and Maple. Our eyes were ever on the lookout for that perfect leaf specimen, to pin onto Mrs. Collins’ bulletin board. My secret retreat in those early years was the ancient grape arbor at the back of the house. Tucked under its leafy blanket, the scent of ripening grapes foretold the coming harvest, and I would dream of carefree days of apple orchards, homemade cider and moonlit hayrides.

Many leaves later, I am still at it. Each autumn a leaf-longing overtakes me. I keep watch for the first leaves drifting to earth, always searching for that special one.

Still Skipping,


  1. Falling leafs are the best part of fall!
    I also answered your question in my post....
    Have a great day!

  2. There is a huge ginkgo tree at Willow Manor. I love the vibrant shade of yellow it turns in the fall.

  3. Isn't Autumn a wonderful time of year ? I can remember doing all of the things that you decribed as a young girl and enjoying every minute of it. It is also special for me as my son got married in October last year, so it brings back some very special memories.....gorgeous photographs with a beautifully written text. XXXX

  4. Hi Marjorie
    For some reason I never get that Autumn feeling here in Australia but can understand what you mean from seeing Autumn in other countries [via media etc]. Perhaps if I weren't city bound it would be different.

    Your story though is wonderful and reminds me of a similar ritual but with mown grass in summer. Not quite as gentle a story.. but certainly childhood fun!

    Lovely story... you took me on a walk through your world. x Julie

  5. What a beautiful post, Marjorie! This is my very favorite time of year and your beautiful words remind me even more clearly of exactly why I love it so. xoxo Gigi

  6. What a wonderful story filled with joy and love. That first little illustration is so adorable.

  7. Love ginkos but hate the smell of the berries! It's only in the 60's here today, so fall's coming!

  8. You always capture the thoughts in my head that I myself can not put on paper. The memories of fall are so much stronger for me then any other season. Thank you for all your beautiful words!

  9. Such wonderful memories of childhood, and I am always amazed how what we enjoyed with an open heart and chillike glee ends up lasting us a lifetime :)

    Lovely prose!



  10. Oh Marjorie,

    What a beautiful evocative.....I felt I was right there with you....lovely memories.....

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments to me this week, I love reading what you say....and I shall follow your advice and run to track down "Mad Men" :)

    Happy Week-end to you,
    Simone :)

  11. Oh my heart did a flip at your falling leaves is so beautiful, the way the children are reaching up it is magical.
    Yes Autumn is so full of wonder.
    Hugs Lynn xxxxx

  12. Yes, I love the falling leaves picture too. Beautifully written Marjorie, one of the nicest posts about Autumn I've seen.