I love birch trees in the Fall when their leaves have nearly all dropped off and their powerful cream branches shoot up to the sky as if proclaiming “Rejoice, Smile, Be Grateful!”
I also love a little tree on our street that produces the most vibrant red berries, which twist and wind off the dainty branches and twigs possumhaw maybe?). Mario and Ri climb up that little tree and enjoy sitting on the branches as I snap pictures below.
I could swallow up those Fall days with the sun beaming just enough warmth on us that the chill in the air simply serves to keep us alert and ready for new discoveries. We find maple and oak and even poplar leaves (or so we surmise while comparing them to the pictures in our leaf book). We gather acorns. Mario performs a jig for us and we laugh so hard we fall to the grass.
Later, Mario informs us that Nukie, his imaginary friend, died today. He leads us over to the dirt by the trash cans and shows us the grave he built for him. It couldn’t have been more spectacular.
We stood in reverence to sweet Nukie for a few moments, and then began playing again. After a couple of minutes, Mario stopped Ri and I as we gathered leaves.
“Nukie is alive. He is playing over there. He just wanted to trick us!”
We wiped our brows thankful that Nukie was back with us. I asked Mario what he’d do with the grave. He told me we’d leave it there in case we ever needed it. Made complete sense. He understands at age 5 that life in all forms is fleeting, and hence all the more reason to gobble it up in the moment.