|Sun dapples a carpet of leaves.|
|My son is nearly lost in a sea of leaves.|
|Golden leaves under a threatening sky.|
The series of photos above are excerpts from my son's 3rd birthday photo-shoot. He won't actually turn 3 until next week, but I wanted to get the pictures while the leaves still looked good. The site is the Jaycee Park here in town. Normally this is a somewhat seedy-looking park, with run-down equipment. I always have liked it though. For one thing it is behind the elementary school I attended and where my children now go, so I have been familiar with it from childhood. Also, it has a huge field kids love to run in and a stream which is occasionally full and bubbling. No one else is ever there, either, so it's sort of like our own private park.
This time of year, for nearly the entire month of November, the park sheds its dowdy garb and cloaks itself in stunning beauty. The stream becomes deep and black and mysterious. A thick carpet of leaves cover the ground, and the varied trees, oak, sweet gum, maple, and more, just burst into color like fireworks.
We go every day to this park, because I sign my kids up as walkers so we get some exercise. We walk through the park to school. In the fall we stroll under this cathedral of color, with leaves raining down like flakes of gold, and I feel like I can finally be at peace in my skin. It's very seldom I can turn off my brain, my longings for something more, the to-do list always running in my head and just take in the beauty of a place.
Another reason I come to this park is that we used to live over near it and I took my first baby there for his outing every single day from when he was only about a week old. I can remember sitting in the deep cushion of leaves with more falling silently all around us, my baby just learning to sit up himself. In this time of year I can see him as a new crawler and walker, practicing on the soft ground, and learning to climb the steps to the slide. That baby of mine will become a teenager in a few months. He will have to start shaving soon. To be honest, it's a hard time for us. He is becoming truculent and secretive. His grades are a disappointment. It is nice to go back in time for a bit and remember how wonderful and amazing he seemed when he was new to us.
It is always good to cultivate an appreciation for the transformation of the everyday into the extraordinary.