I have a strange habit of ripping leaves off trees and bushes while I walk.
In the fall months especially, I become so completely enthralled by nature that I am often left grasping desperately for a way to better capture this delight. I am sometimes, quite literally, stopped short--hoping that simple stillness will help me to better absorb the moment. Maybe if I do not move, not even a muscle, I will just melt into autumn. But I can’t stop breathing, so I control my breaths. Slow and steady. Inhale. Exhale. The crisp air. The smell of brown tattered leaves--the trees shedding their coats while we don ours. Sometimes they smell like spit. Sometimes they smell like honey. I can’t stop blinking, either. A soft wind stings my eyes. I blink through the hazy light. It is so golden, so kind. Maybe because there is less of it these days, when it does shine it is more forgiving.
This is not working. I need to get closer. I need to feel this more. Somehow I need to feel it better. Better than I have ever felt anything. I become desperate, I break the stillness. My hand dashes out to touch the leaves, to feel them, for a moment. Pinch them in my fingers, trace their translucent snaking veins. Then, unable to refrain, I rip some off. Hold them. I hold autumn.
Or maybe all I have done is desecrate a tree. The moment is anticlimactic. I shove the leaves in my bag, and continue walking.
The next day a girl watches curiously as I reach for my notebook, but first pull a handful of leaves out of my bag. They are dry now. They crumble over my possessions.