Monday, November 10, 2008

Race To Get Naked

So every year at this time I always delight in a silly little fantasy. No, nothing perverse or dirty. I simply love to watch the leaves that have fallen as they are blown by the wind. Do you remember the beginning of the movie Forrest Gump? Where this little white feather is blown about willy nilly until it randomly lands on a person, so we hear their story? At the end of the movie, Tom Hank's Forrest opens a children's books and never even notices the same old feather is blown away by a gust of wind and the story ends. I always loved that bit of symbolism.

Well, my fall fantasies have nothing to do with feathers or mentally challenged people. I wish! No, it is simply watching the leaves ramble on the gust of the wind. A time of year when some people think that a dried leaf if a symbol of death. It lived it's purpose, died in a blazing burst of colorful glory and now needs a compost heap... but I say there is still life in those brittle old things.

Now let me explain... again, I live in Oklahoma. You know... where the wind comes sweeping off the plains? We get a lot of honkin wind. And in the fall, you can see all the eddys and currents of wind along the ground because it is filled with dried leaves. And... it is one of the happiest, most joyful things to watch! You see groups of little leaves, that are just the right size to hitch a ride on swirling currents of air. What was void of life or motion one moment is filled with a playful little family chasing each other and tackling the one in front to gain position.

Like sufer dudes on the beaches of California, these leaves paddle their way out to the exact spot and catch the ride of their lives. Some body surf back and forth across the street, too timid to venture out far. While there is always the daring one that will revel in being scooped up to frightening heights only to gently float back down to Earth. After happy Spring births, and a long hard summer's work the leaf is set free to enjoy it's retirement. And like the Monarch butterfly, that stars life as a caterpillar then changes into a beautiful new life form, the leaf also changes. But the leaves change from green to multi-hued wonders of nature before falling dry and seemingly listless. Unlike the rest of us, leaves revel in the final days of old age. Some stay with the comfort of their old friends and some take the freedom to move on and see as much of the world as possible in the little time there is left.

And this morning I realize we are getting close to watching the adventure again. I look around and I see some trees that have lost a lot of leaves and I see some that still have most of theirs. Suddenly I realized they are in a race to get naked! You have the few exhibitionist standing tall in front yards and already buck naked. Then you have the more subdued and refined trees, often found standing behind houses or other bits of cover, grudgingly holding onto all of their leaves with a fierce determination to preserve their modesty.

But the season is upon us all and I say we should embrace the spirit of fall! Shed your old coverings, hitch a wild ride on life and let the fun begin. There's been frost on the pumpkin and the race to get naked has started. Enjoy.

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