March 10th…….“WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO PLAY IN THE FALL LEAVES THERE ON YOUR BOYHOOD FARM IN SOUTHERN MINNESOTA?”
In my little farm boy eyes, I was just SURE I saw the fall air “sparkle” that morning!!! Alright, I’ll concede that it may have been the diamond gems of sunlight giving their pin-point radiances through the converging leaves on the trees above me. “Jack Frost” had been visiting our farmyard on many a chilly night during that time of year and his below-freezing breath had blown the life out of zillions of maple, cottonwood and elm tree leaves that now tentatively clung to the tree branches that had, heretofore, given them life over the spring and summer months.
I think “Mr. Wind” was allergic to this new season on our farm, cause all he had to do was sneeze a breeze and all that flaccid fall foliage feebly fluttered as it began to release from its aerie heights to become a swirling, whirling ballet down to earth. On days when “Mr. Wind” was napping, I could track a lifeless leaf as it let go from mother tree, wayyyy up high in that Minnesota sky. My head swayed from side to side as I mimicked its rhythmic sashay sliding in the brilliant blue sapphire sky above me. Many a time, I could position myself beneath the leaf as it approached my face and then “launch” it once again with a little boy blow of hot air. On other exciting days, “Mr. Wind’s” assumed allergies to this season were highly exacerbated as ricocheting gusts of air would grab thousands of leaves in its possession and spin them all in a magnificent swirling merry-go-round of colors and aromas of wonderment!!!
Long before I was tainted with the condition known as “adulthood”, life’s daily magic still ruled supreme in my little boy ways. These festive, yet simple celebrations of life were still new and captured me in their aura of loving life for all its simple joys. Fall and its associated merriments were one of those times. Whether it was the fragrant perfume of millions of fall leaves in their crisp new presence, or creating a relief artwork by putting a formerly alive “body” under my art paper and lightly running color crayons or color pencils over the leaf to magically reveal each crispy, creviced, crackled cranny of my “model” below that paper. It was all a delight!
It was no impediment to me that our lawn rake handles were longer than I was tall. Pish, posh!!! I just grabbed that leaf-loving-lance of labor and started creating the biggest mountain of organic opulence that I could possibly create. Instead of Mt. Everest, my creation was gonna be a Mt. Elliott!!! 😉
Our family pooch was cast under the same “spell” as I was when that leaf pile reached its atmospheric height. This much bliss could not be just looked at, it had to be explored in the manner known as the blissful, boyish, backwards bouncing. With my rake put to “parade rest” nearby, I backed up to the leaf pile and out of my mouth came a boy’s battle cry of fun………..”Wheeeeeeeeee”!!!! KerFLUFF!!! and I disappeared backwards into the leaf pile. That bounteous blue canopy above me was now becoming a kaleidoscope of red, gold and brown maple leaves as I sank deeper into the pile. It was a melodious mosaic that complimented the already azure coloring of that marvelous Minnesota sky. Within that same instant, in pounced our very happy family dog as we both rolled and wrestled a perfect day away for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son!!!