A Single Red Leaf
Originally posted on my family blog on Oct. 20th, 2009
We arrived home after Shane’s doctor’s appointment. It was time for lunch, and after that, a nap. As I helped Shane out of his car seat, I was doing a mental inventory of what was in our fridge that could be pulled together for a healthy — and quick — lunch. As we started up the stairs I started planning about five steps ahead, to what I needed to get done while (and if) he napped.
Shane wasn’t thinking steps ahead. Shane was taking it one step at a time. Slowly. He’d step up, pause, and then point to each and every step ahead of him as he chanted his newest word over and over: “Stair! Stair! Stair!” He’d step up and repeat this process. Again and again. Slowly, so excruciatingly slowly.
And I was biting the inside of my lip, reminding myself that he’s just a toddler, reminding myself that I need to slow down to his speed, but still thinking of all that I had to do.
And then he spotted the leaf.
A single, brilliantly red autumn leaf, resting on one step.
To say that Shane was amazed would be understating it. He was enthralled. Pointing up and frantically signing “tree”, then pointing down and signing “leaf.” Poking at the leaf with one finger, picking it up to examine it closely, smelling it, even at one point trying to sneak in a little taste.
We stood there, halfway up the staircase leading to our apartment, and marveled over this one red leaf.
And you know what? Shane was right. That single red leaf was incredible, and fascinating, and worth pausing to marvel over. Autumn is truly amazing, when you slow down and take the time to really appreciate what it has to offer. The crispness in the air, the trips to apple orchards and pumpkin fields, and the sudden vibrancy of the foliage after a summer of green. I love autumn, love everything about it. But this particular autumn day was passing by in a blur of busy “To-Do’s” without a second glance, until my inquisitive little boy redirected my attention to a single red leaf.