Saturday, November 21, 2009


The Leaves

Perhaps they were tired of the usual, bored with the mundane annual routine. No doubt they had planned this for weeks, secretly convening beneath lunar light when the rest of the street was sleeping, tucked away in grey dens and brown burrows, twiggy nests and four-posters. The maples had thought of it first, whispering their mischievous idea to the oaks and the poplars whilst the pines and magnolias simply eavesdropped, for this did not concern them.
The plan was ingenious.
It made the old trees laugh.
For years, they had each shed their leaves in a casual fashion. It had always been thus, with the maples stepping off first, scattering their red-orange raiment on the autumn breeze like flaming sparks from a bonfire, and the oak leaves holding out till much later, as though reluctant to relinquish their lofty views up above all the others. A bit more mercurial, the poplars were always difficult to predict, for they adhered to a schedule known only to themselves. With a few leaves here, a bit more there, it had forever been a rather lazy process, almost nonchalant, and one that allowed the ear-muffed humans below ample time to catch up as they scurried around with their wood handled rakes. But not this year.
Meticulously organized, this colourful cabal executed its plan with precision.
On Saturday evening, the trees were full of leaves.
On Sunday morning, they were not.
Sometime in the deepdarkdead of the night - perhaps counting a prelude of three like a rainbow row of giggling children holding hands on the high dive preparing to jump - they all came down at once, leaving the cottage buried deep under crimson and gold. Up street and down, we all silently stood on our porches next morning, our various plans for the day visibly altered before our very eyes and, sighing, one by one, turned back inside to gather up coats and gloves, rakes and leaf blowers, determined to restore a semblance of order to the upturned landscape of our little world.
And later, from somewhere within one of those towering piles of crackling, fading colour, I could almost have sworn I heard an indistinct sound - a thin, strange echo of cheeky laughter.

38 comments:

  1. Beautiful writing, full of lovely images!

    ReplyDelete
  2. yes indeed Pamela, beautiful. I loved the line, "It made the old tree's laugh". When I was a child I use to find tree's very human like and deeply mysterious. It was like they did breath life. Yes, I did have a very active imagination I"m afraid. I was never bored however. I adore the photo too. Best to you & Edward x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pamela - you can turn the most mundane thing, like leaf fall, into a magical story. I can now see this fantastic red, gold and orange carpet spreading everywhere - wonderful imagery. Sorry you all had to change plans and sweep it up - you could of course have let the breeze do it for you. Lovely writing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Pamela,
    Today I was thinking if I should brush my terrace because a lot of leaves gathered together there! But I couldn't !!! No! They whispered to me! Yes! They asked me to enjoy their beauty, the wonderful colours they show me! And so this evening they are still there, smiling at me and thanking meme to let them just be there in all their fall beautiness!
    And I felt happy with it!

    Greet

    ReplyDelete
  5. :-) I love the idea that the leaves are cheeky children jumping down from the tree. I watched one leaf being swept along in front of the house about 20ft up in the air today out of the craft room window, It reminded me of a sledge ride the way it was curled.

    ReplyDelete
  6. To echo everyone else - this is such pretty writing! You made my day :). Oh, and the bit about the poplars is so true!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was cleaning the brass on my front door this morning, and all of the leaves did a dance and blew into my hall !!!! Fabulous desciption of leaf fall, Pamela. XXXX

    ReplyDelete
  8. How enchanting! I could almost see the maples, oaks and poplars whispering away, and at the end there, almost heard their laughter myself. I don't know how you do it, Pamela. Pure poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Lovely, magical story and image, you are truly gifted

    ReplyDelete
  10. It was the poplars who lead the uprising. Or, the de-leafing rather.
    You are right about their being unpredictable.

    ReplyDelete
  11. So beautifully written Pamela, but oh, what would I give for your bountiful harvest of leaves! I would compost them and any I could get from your neighbours as well to improve my very needy sol.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Who knew of the secret lives of these wonderful trees - thank you so much Pamela for bringing this beautiful and important story to us. I will treat all future autumn leaves as the wonderful treasures that they are. Leigh

    ReplyDelete
  13. I am going to imagine my trees laughing and cackling away from now on Pamela...this post is totally delightful. xv

    ReplyDelete
  14. How I loved reading your description, a pleasure to pop in as always.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh my, how lovely. I live in "foliage" country and it is so true.
    Almost over night the colors burst forth and then overnight they fall.
    : )

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi P&E,

    Despite the trees' scheming, it must have looked wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Pamela, Edward & Apple!
    I have missed visiting you and it seems I've missed so much! Congrats on that 200th post!!!
    I'm caught up now and it was all beautiful! Loved those Elf Booties!! xoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
  18. Reminds me of my childhood -- with the piles of leaves raked up -- and then the gorgeous smell of bonfires crackling away! Dad would often scrunitize the trees and say "well, I guess thats the crop for this year" -- and we would laugh as the trees would send down more leaves from an invisible storehouse!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

    ReplyDelete
  19. ..and when is your book coming out? I want more...
    pve

    ReplyDelete
  20. Oh yes, nature does like to play tricks on us, - November is being very mischievous here.

    Thanks for stopping by Pamela, - I like to think of you knitting, knitting, knitting. It is such a relaxing and satisfying activity.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love your stories! I am just imagining our street like this. I would be so sad if all of the leaves decided to leave at once. Fall is my favorite season! I better catch some photos before the leaves are all gone here! Thanks again for your wonderful storytelling. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. What wonderful images you conjured up with this post, Pamela! Thanks for your magic. xo

    ReplyDelete
  23. I believe we have some naughty trees like that here :) I love your writing, I saw the whole scene unfolding and it's a tale for a stormy Autumn night. Have you thought of putting together a book of short stories and verses? I would most certainly buy it and treasure it :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your writing is amazing as ever! suzie. xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. oh how lovely, i can just imagine the trees conspiring together like this!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Absolutely beautiful, Pamela. What wonderful images you create with words - I can just imagine that thick, quiet carpet of autumn leaves.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love the idea that the trees "conspire" to release their leaves according to their schedule, not ours! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. lovely post... have a great weekend... x pam

    ReplyDelete
  29. Just grand! I wasn't aware poplar were so unpredictable. We had a similar event recently with our ginkos... you've inspired me to post about it!
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  30. How extraordinary, we are having such unpredictable natural events right now. Swallows are staying instead of leaving, rainfall which is so heavy it breaks bridges and floods homes.

    I find it all very disconcerting but maybe you are right, maybe nature is just having a laugh at our expense.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Cher Eduard: Elle est formidable, ta maitresse!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Arrived with the wind via Willow, and I want to be one of those leaves on the ground, right under the tree of your writing.

    You have a way with words that wraps them tight around one's heart and pull at the mind.

    So glad to have foud HERE!

    ReplyDelete
  33. This is wonderful writing, and I'm not one to compliment people. This is beautiful wordcraft, impressive in its ability to evoke an emotion laden memories.

    "The maples had thought of it first, whispering their mischievous idea to the oaks and the poplars whilst the pines and magnolias simply eavesdropped, for this did not concern them."....ordinarily I would take this sort of anthropormorphism makes me grind my teeth, but this is so playful, so airy, that I smiled. Me. You don't know me, but I'm just saying.

    I'm going to send your link to several friends and urge them to read this. Outstanding.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I love the words, but I'm as struck by the illustration. Who is this by? It reminds me of the work of Edmund Dulac, whose work I LOVE.

    http://dulac.artpassions.net/

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your blog is absolutely beautiful. It reminds me of lots of things from my childhood. And your dogs are adorable. Christina xx

    ReplyDelete

I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!