Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Lost in the Leaves

I love Fall. It’s my very favorite season of the whole year. (Weather season, anyway, not holiday season – Christmas is definitely my favorite holiday season.) Besides the temperatures, the sweaters, and the colors, one of my favorite parts of autumn is watching the leaves fall down like snow all around me. As I watch the foliage conceal the grounds outside, I can’t help but relive some of my childhood memories. Please indulge me as I reminisce and tell you a little story.

Growing up in Illinois, we lived across the street from a public park. Bliss Park, to be precise. It occupied an entire city block. The neighborhood mostly consisted of the four streets of houses that outlined the park. We were pretty much all bf's. Well, mostly my brother was bf's with all of the boys in the neighborhood, and I just crushed on them when they came around. But there were a few "sisters" of those cute boys that I spent some time with, as well.

Anyway, we lived right next door to my grandparents (mom's parents), and they naturally were the hub of our whole family. Grandma and Grandpa had an open door policy, which meant that the entire family was always in and out, constantly visiting and hanging out there. I was pretty tight with my cousins growing up, and they were always over at grandma's, which basically meant they were always over at my house, since I more or less lived next door.

So, essentially, I grew up alongside a lot of other kids, some related, others not, and we all virtually lived at that park. My mom was a super cool mom. She was really young and always hung out with us kids a lot, so she was included in that “peer group” that I spent so much time with.

The park was completely full of really big trees. You know, the really nice, full-grown kind. Each year, the leaves all fell, and the city paid people to mow the grounds and mulch them up. But year after year, before they had a chance to destroy the opportunity, the entire neighborhood would get together, grab rakes and tackle the park. Spearheaded by my super cool mom, of course, we would create a gigantic maze through the leaves, complete with dead ends and short cuts and the whole shebang. The labyrinth covered the entire city block, wrapping around the slides and winding through the swings and spiraling into circular dead ends that, if you found yourself in, forced you to trail the whole spiral to back out in order to escape.

And then we'd play tag in it!!

Whoever was It would run after the others through the maze at lightening speed, trying to tag them as they worked their way through the paths without getting trapped in a dead-end or spiral. I can’t promise that I never “hopped” a trail of leaves to help maneuver the path while no one was looking, but I can definitely promise that I had a great time playing with my friends, enjoying the season, and basking in the glory of everybody cooing over how cool my mom was. Yeah… that leaf-maze-tag master of the park was my mom!

The entire maze culminated in this GIANT pile of leaves located in a perfect spot in the middle of some hedges. Since it was contained by the bushes, we could pile the leaves up super high without worry of them flying away. The leaf pile was always base, if you could find your way to it through the trails. After we were finished playing tag, we'd conclude our fall festivities by taking turns climbing the tree above the pile, and jumping down into it, trying to see who could do the most impressive acrobatic stunts on their way down into our personal soft landing. It was so, very much fun.

These are the memories that spawned my love for fall, and these are the memories that I can’t help but recollect every time I see the leaves mask the earth.

What are some of your favorite fall memories? Do you love jumping into a big pile of leaves as if there is no care in the world? Did you grow up with as cool of a mom as I did? I want to hear all about it.



7 comments:

emily said...

my fav fall memory is getting married in october and spending a week in Mexico! :) sun, sand, water, palm trees, ahhhhh....

Kristen said...

You know I love fall every bit as much as you do! What an awesome memory from your childhood - I don't really have a comparable one, but I just always get giddy when the leaves fall from the trees. It's the most picturesque thing and something I know I will see each autumn. Not like snow, which is elusive here in West TN...

Mindy, I just put some pumpkin spice creamer in my hot tea and...I might have squealed with ridiculous excitement. =)

Elaine said...

What neat memories you have and what a super cool mom you were blessed with! Thanks for sharing!

...::Mrs. Southern Bride::... said...

I love fall too! Everything about it! I love wearing hoodies, drinking cocoa, bonfires, making Smores, etc...

I think one of my favorite memories in fall, would be having a bon fire with for our friends last year. We all sat around and made smores, and talked. It was wonderful!

Dad said...

One of my favorite memories is actually an ongoing one...the smell of burning leaves. That smell tells me that Thanksgiving(my favorite holiday) is just around the corner!

Our Life...Taking it one experience at a time said...

I sounds like you lived on the best block in town - or at least the one that had the most fun. I love to watch my boys jump in piles of leaves, the smell of bonfires, the colors of fall, good cooking and baking, turkey....Ok, time to stop because I could just keep rambling on and on......

leslie said...

hey cousin -- just found your blog...read this post and it makes me miss the good times playing at Bliss Park...what a sweet place!

i hope all is well.

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