Thursday, November 09, 2006

The leaves are almost gone here, and though we have had a few days of Indian Summer this week, winter is in the air today. Earlier in the fall we raked up a big pile of leaves to jump in, but I never bagged it up, and most of them have just blown away! Autumn in South Dakota!

Yesterday my mom wrote an email about fall leaves and it reminded me of something. On the grounds of their beautiful Hood River home, my parents had several big Horse Chestnut Trees. These were enormous old trees with a huge trunk, big leaves, and odd pokey balls. In her email my mom mentioned that those trees seemed to lose all their leaves over night. She mentioned the time a friend slept over, and the next morning when she headed to her car, it was completely buried in leaves. Reading about those leaves reminded me of something so strange, that I have wondered if I really saw it, or if I just imagined it.

My old room at that home had windows around 3 sides, and some branches of the tree came right up to the house there. In this picture all those windows on the 2nd floor were my room, and you can see the big tree to the left of the house - it's branches over and above the roofline.

I was visiting my parents one fall when Hannah was a baby, and we were staying in my old room. The sun was up, but Hannah was still sleeping, and I knew if I moved she would wake up. I was being held captive in my day-bed by a 10 pound little girl! The only thing to do was cuddle down look out the window.

The big leaves of that chestnut tree had turned yellow, and I started to notice something odd. Leaves were starting to fall off the tree, but they were not being blown off. And they didn't just drop off, they seemed to wiggle off, one at a time.

The leaves of the chestnut tree are like fingers - 5 leaves joined together on one thick stem - here is a picture of the leaves and the chestnut pods:

There was no wind that morning, but every couple seconds one leaf would kind of lift itself up by the stem, and then it would release from the branch and fall down. I watched this happen over and over again, with baby Hannah snoring next to me. It was amazing. Later in the day I noticed that the tree was almost bare and the ground around the tree was covered in leaves.

I have never seen anything like that since then and I have wondered if I was dreaming. But I KNOW it happened, and reading the note from my mom about those trees losing their leaves all on one day makes me think I'm not (too) crazy.


Anonymous said...

Oh, seeing that house puts a little pang of homesickness in me. I love that place. Sometimes it is strange to think that mom and dad don't live there anymore.

So, the wiggling-free leaves sound very strange, but I bet you are totally right and that is how they all fell off so fast. Our leaves here are really starting to fall. Tomorrow I'll have to post some pictures I took today of Lindsey in the leaves. I'm going to miss all the color come winter!

Deanne said...

What a neat experience! I wonder what else we miss in life when we are too busy to sit still long enough to marvel at the wonders around us?

It is hard for me to picture you living in any house other than the one on Tallent. Your family moved shortly after we did, right? I like the picture of your Oregon home. It looks like it was a great house to live in. Ryan and I love the older homes like that, but there are none around us now. We seem to be doomed to live in what Ryan calls 'stucco blobs'.

Thanks for sharing your neat story!


Suzanne said...

What a beautiful home to have been raised in! That must have been such a serene moment watching the leaves fall while your daughter slept. It's little moments like that, that remind us what a beautiful world we live in! :)

No Cool Story said...

Ooooh preeeetyful.
What a sweet memory :)

Amber said...

What a great post and I, too am bit homesick after reading it. Though homesick for me means being under the frozen Canadian tundra. :-)

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

I love Hood River. It's so pretty and small. And I love that they still have a Pietro's.

Anonymous said...

Millie, I worked at Pietros in HR one summer. Blech. But the pizza and dark smoky (but not smoky) atmosphere is classic.

Amanda said...

What a sweet memory! Thanks for sharing. I love that house too. How fun!!

Anonymous said...

Pietro's delivered dinner for us tonight. YUM + no dishes!

I still have a hard time driving past Mom and Dad's old house. Plus I have a little displaced anger towards the new owners, I know it wasn't them that made Mom and Dad move, but it's nice to have someone to blame! I'll have to drive by and see if the leaves have fallen yet.

When Mom and Dad were here, I remember dislikeing to divide our holidays up, running back and forth between their house, and my in-laws. But I really miss spending holidays with them.


txmommy said...

what a fun memory and lovely home.

Too bad we didn't live near each other, we could be husbandless together!

Anne/kq said...

See what you would have missed if you just snuggled down and went back to sleep (what I would have done)? My brother used to lay on the ground for HOURS and watch the plants and animals around him. He learned things I never cared to, just by laying there watching.