Catch a Falling Leaf

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in fall, leaves, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

The equinox has arrived, and it’s autumn, also known as, of course, fall–the time of leaf fall. Each gust of wind sends a snowflurry of red and gold drifting to earth. And when those leaves drift past you, reach out and catch one!

Ever hear the saying that you’ll have a happy month next year for every leaf you catch? It’s an old, old belief–first recorded in the 1800s, but it goes back much further than that, most likely well into pre-Christian times. It’s like knocking on wood for good luck, a folk legend that’s been passed along through the oral tradition, from grandmothers, aunts and uncles telling the young’uns their lore. Old wives’ tales, we say now. But they come from that ancient worldview of trees as magical, powerful beings, perhaps inhabited by gods or spirits, able to confer blessings, grant wisdom, and shield you against misfortune.

In our day, disconnected as we are from nature, these old beliefs are fading fast. Most of us aren’t surrounded by leafy groves during our daily workday. The last time I wanted to “knock on wood” to deflect bad luck, I looked around and couldn’t find anything to knock on in the plastic-and-polyester-filled waiting room.

So spread the word. Kids need to know these things. Get out there and chase a leaf. This year’s been tough. We could all use a little happiness next year.

You’d think it would be easy to catch a falling leaf, but it’s actually incredibly hard. A leaf doesn’t fall in a straight line like a stone, it swoops and dips and zig-zags. At the last second it twitches just beyond the reach of your fingertips.

I’ve caught two so far this year, but I’ve never yet succeeded in capturing all twelve. Happiness is elusive. But under scarlet and gold branches is a good place to seek for it.


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