Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Autumn Leaves

I just recently went on a very refreshing hike. It rained here for a week straight and then, finally, there was a break. There were actually patches in the sky; everything was damp and dripping wet, but there were still brilliant leaves on many of the trees. Aidan (my son) and I set out on our little local trail (almost literally in our backyard!). We passed the lake, walked through the deep forests full of oaks, maples , birch, firs and pines. We followed the river further down and found ourselves crossing a bridge deep down in the gorge. The water is very high right now from all the rainfall, so the river water thundered through the trees along it's limestone rocky course. As I hiked back up the hill, through the upper meadows full of gnarly mossy oaks, I smelled woodsmoke in the air... probably from a nearby house I couldn't see. That smell is so strong and wonderful; it reminded me of my family's land back in Ohio. -This time of year they always have the woodstove going. You can smell it all over the many acres they own.

It is such a joy to go on these local trails with Aidan. He's my little companion in everything I do and will be for many years. He already delights in the sights and sounds, I can tell, because he marvels at everything, in his own way, already. As he grows older we may have to walk slower and won't be able to cover as much ground, but it will be fun to pick up leaves together and teach him about the different kinds of trees, mosses and such. The leaves here are giant! Some of the maple leaves are literally a full square foot. I picked up a lot of them to press back here at the house and was reminded of all the things one can do with the radiant leaves of autumn:

~Press them and then laminate them betwen two sheets of plastic, then turning them into magnets for the fridge (glue a magnet on the back side of the laminated plastic peices) or into placemats, depending on the size or quantity of them.

~Press, then make tiny holes (using a hole puncher) in the tops of the leaves. Tie strings to each leaf and hang them at different heights from the upper window jam. This also could make a wonderful decoration for Thanksgiving. Of course, be sure that the leaves are strung on the window high enough so that little hands can't tear them down. The leaves are fragile in this state!

~Place a leaf on the flat tabletop, put a peice of paper over it and, holding in place, color over the paper with a sideways-crayon or a block crayon, so that the veins and sides of the leaf (the relief parts) show through onto the paper.

~After pressing, place on beautiful folded handmade, natural paper and cover with transparent laminating plastic to make a leaf card for stationary.

~Whether you have colorful golds, reds and oranges or plain old yellows and browns, leaves are still fun to adorn your Thanksgiving table. -Gourds and tiny pumpkins are also lovely.

~Sia writes from VERY rainy Vancouver, WA


one of us :: 12:00 AM :: 3 Comments