One year, while we were living in south Texas, I received a box in the mail from my son. The package was about 12X12X12 inches but felt very light. I couldn’t imagine what was in it.
The post office had marked it fragile, so I was careful as I removed the tape and slid the lid off. I heard a rustling sound when I moved the box. The gift was wrapped in soft white tissue paper with a tiny piece of tape holding it together.
I carefully eased the tape away from the paper and opened it. An earthy sweetness rose up to meet as my eyes met the delightful surprise of many different kinds of fall leaves of every shape, color, and size in the box.
He had sent the package through priority mail, so the leaves would still have their bright they bright crisp colors.
A note read, “Mom, I’m sending a little Fall to you. Enjoy.”
The sight and smell were just as gratifying as if I had tasted something I had been craving. And yes, it brought tears to my eyes that my son understood my need for a feeling of the autumn season.
My son now lives in south Georgia. One day I was telling my granddaughters about their dad sending me Fall leaves each year.
They said, ” Nana, we don’t get a lot of colorful fall leaves here like you do in Virginia. Will you send us some of yours.”
So now it is my turn to delight them with a box of Fall leaves each year.
I use a box for each of them as I collect leaves from all different deciduous trees, such as oaks, maples, sweetgums; any trees with big or small colorful leaves that fall to the ground.
When I bring them home, I use wax paper to preserve them. First, I lay the leaf on a piece of wax paper and then lay a piece of wax paper on top. Then I press with a hot iron. When it cools, I peel off the wax paper that has coated the beautiful leaves.
There are other ways you can preserve fall leaves. You can also use beeswax, glycerin, mod podge, or a laminator to preserve fall leaves or green leaves. You can even dry them in the microwave and then spray them with sealant. There are lots of tutorials on the internet.
I thought my son and I were the only ones that spent time waxing and sending fall leaves to each other but come to find out, some companies will process your fall leaves for you, and some companies will pay to receive fall leaves! Who knew!
When our granddaughters receive their Fall leaf box, they will find little gifts tucked in with their leaves.
Our oldest granddaughter, Jayne, takes her leaves outside and scatters hers around their pine trees; our youngest, Grace, carefully places her around her room and on the door so she can feel our closeness.
The incredible thing about autumn/fall is the turning of the leaves. The shorter days are a sign to trees to begin to prepare for winter.
Nature provides chlorophyll the chemical that makes tree leaves green. However, during winter, there is not enough light for photosynthesis to occur. So, as the days shorten, the trees begin to close down their food production systems and reduce the amount of chlorophyll in their leaves.
The chemicals responsible for the vibrant ambers, reds, and yellows of autumn/fall are flavonoids, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.
And what is interesting is that some of these chemicals are the same ones that give carrots (beta-carotene) and egg yolks (lutein) their colors?
Everyone has their favorite seasons. Some of us are significantly affected by the change from one season to another.
My grandson said his favorite time is when one season is transitioning to another. “It’s when you begin to pay closer attention to the weather and what’s going around you,” he says.
Life is very much like seasons. When we transition from one season to another in our life we begin to pay more attention. First, there is a time when we are running through the leaves and scattering them everywhere, as though we haven’t a care in the world, as we laughingly fell into the heap of them.
Then we become responsible and carefully raked them up to keep our yards tidy.
Next, we become careful not to slip on the wet leaves lest we fall, and then there is a time when examining the beauty of each leaf and sharing them with others is what reminds us of how blessed we are.