Falling As Verb, Noun and State of Mind

My afternoon of the mind.

The sky blue sky is dotted with cotton balls: the air, crisp as McIntosh apples.  Maple, oak and sumac fight for supremacy in an all-out color war to the death.

I’ve got an important meeting this afternoon, one I can’t miss. 

On the drive over from my office, I pass a huge pile of leaves.  The senior homeowner pauses for a well-earned rest in his Sisyphean battle with the intruders trying to take his lawn.  Soon their comrades will parachute in for a new assault.  For a brief moment, however, he has won.  He goes in search of bags and bags and bags to confine his prisoners.

The pile beckons: so high, so tempting.  It is a mountain of fall memories in a field of emerald grass.

Then I’m pulling over to the curb, barely remembering to put the car in park.  Running from the car, briefcase in hand I execute a leap the likes of which the Flying Wallendas would envy.  Arms wide spread, legs out, papers flying as I soar. 


Suspended for just a brief eternity and then I’m landing soft.  I’m sinking, floating, held aloft by the gold, green, red and brown feathers of this autumnal bed.

The leaves are scattered all over Mr. Green’s lawn, and I know I’m gonna get in trouble.  You KNOW he’ll tell Mom.  He always does.  But I don’t care, the old grouch.

“C’mon, Peggy!” I hear Billy call, his voice muffled by the rusty red and yellow blanket. By more than 40 years of leaves. “My turn!”

“Yeah,” Terry yells  “My turn after Billy.  Rake ‘em up high again!”

No!  I burrow down deeper into the crunchy, slightly musty kaleidoscope.  It’s still MY turn.  I won’t surrender my place, this place, this moment out of time.

The remnants of my bright, blond head atop the leaves fade like wisps of smoke from my mind’s rear view mirror as I drive by.  The pristine pile is still raked into submission and waiting for the bags, the bags to take all that gold to the dump.

I can’t be late for my meeting.  I turn the corner.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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40 Responses to Falling As Verb, Noun and State of Mind

  1. Seasweetie says:

    Oh, thank you, pegoleg, for voicing my memories.


  2. bigsheepcommunications says:

    The hell with the meeting – I was rooting for you!


  3. Love it. What a perfect mini-getaway for MY mind, as I have been tempted to tell several of my co-workers to take a different kind of flying leap in the last few hours. Wonderful writing. I very much enjoyed the visit!


    • pegoleg says:

      It just started raining here, so I bet that leaf pile isn’t so nostalgically appealing now. Reminds me of that scene in Mary Poppins where they’re romping around in the chalk picture until the rain washes it all away.


  4. Tar-Buns says:

    Lovely, Peg. I do love fall, too, and remember making piles to jump in, making rooms and beds with leaves as the borders on the front lawn. Oh, the memories. Thanks!


  5. gojulesgo says:

    Love this! My dad likes to kid, “Work is really getting in the way of my good time.”


  6. It’s never too late to be a kid again! I loved your story and it reminded me of jumping in piles of leaves with Alex. But why do I have to wait for a child to accompany me? You are definitely on to something!


    • pegoleg says:

      I’ve often thought a Rent-a-Kid business would be useful for those of us who want to get into a Disney movie, go to the carnival, and jump in leaf piles without looking weird. The background checks and insurance pitfalls stop me.


  7. We have zero trees on our lawn and oh how I wish we did–I’d be raking those leaves up and jumping in with the kids. (and popping Advil later, but it’d be so worth it!)


  8. Great storytelling! Loved every word of it.


  9. Jackie says:

    Next time please do it. Please.


  10. sukanyabora says:

    what? you opted for the meeting instead? dont you wish you could jump right in? my kids are waiting for the trees to shed….they cannot wait to dive in. and i am seruiously thinking of joining them this time …in the privacy of our backyard.
    have you heard the new Pier 1 ad…talks about something similar


    • pegoleg says:

      But you CAN join in when you have kids; that’s half the fun. When you’re an adult, by yourself, dressed in a business suit with a briefcase, people aren’t so understanding. I haven’t seen that ad – I’ll check it out.


  11. Amy says:

    Oh, I really loved this! So bittersweet.
    “his voice muffled by the rusty red and yellow blanket. By more than 40 years of leaves.” Wonderful line!


  12. Big Al says:

    I detect a bit of novelist in you peg. Great reminiscence! I’m spitting out the leaf dust as I write this.


  13. MKC says:

    Loved the memories! I would make “leaf houses” with Katie all fall when she was little. We would then haul all the play furniture, boxes and whatever we could use for our leaf imagination houses, just like when you and I were growing up.


  14. I enjoyed this! Although I am the grinch who is glad you didn’t jump. I know, I know. Sometimes the imagination is just as good as an escape as the reality.


  15. Barb says:

    I visited Farmington, Illinois last week for the Spoon River festival and only about 2 trees had dropped leaves. You must live where the leaves shed early to get attention. The last time I jumped a pile of leaves, they got down the back of my neck, hair, and up my sleeves. Somehow adult conversions take the fun out of some things. But the beer that now comes with maturity and autumn…that’ll have to make up for the leaf hopping.


    • pegoleg says:

      Hey, we did the Spoon River festival a couple of years back! We hit the color just right and were going to make a weekend of it, but ended up getting bored and coming home at night. We have very progressive trees around here.


  16. pattisj says:

    I was waiting for my turn, too! Sometimes visiting memories is almost as good as the real thing.


  17. pegoleg says:

    And a heck of a lot easier on the knees, eh? 🙂


  18. Chris says:

    This is beautifully written. I’m left with a feeling of longing and surrender, but the joy of fond memories is real and present. You have a gift, Peg. (My thanks to Deb the Closet Monster for bringing this to my attention.)


  19. BillThePraiseAndWorshipGuy says:

    I loved this one, but you DID hog the pile. I still look for leaf piles, but will probably maim myself for the experience — a 50-year old back just does not appreciate nostalgic leaps into the kaleidoscope. Do you know a good insurance agent?


    • pegoleg says:

      Sorry, bro, but your wife told me no more jumping in leaf piles – your disability policy isn’t that hot. Now it’s time to pile up those leaves for the next generation.


  20. Tar-Buns says:

    I think one of my most favorite pictures, from Dad’s slides, was of me raking the front lawn, with little Peg and Bill in the leaf house we continuously re-configured. The colors are so bright. Or was that MK and Bill? Will have to pull out the photo album. Still in all, I remember, and smile each time I do. 🙂


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