A fall night at home

I was reading on cbc.ca tonight and came across this article: 10 Facts About the Fall Season

The paragraph that struck me was this:

Leaves change colour because they need a break, a winter of rest, after a summer of photosynthesizing (using sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugar). Sick trees often change colour and shed too early, which means they don’t have long to live, according to arborist Jim McCready.

It’s rare that we talk about trees in such a human sense: referring to them as needing rest and being sick. I was immediately reminded of one of my favourite pieces of writing, the eighth chapter of Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten. (One of my favourite books I’ve mentioned before.)

The eighth chapter is about two leaves on a tree, talking about their lives, what will happen to them after they fall off the tree, wondering what will come after them, and a tender discussion of how they’ve aged over the season. It’s a thinly veiled metaphor of people looking back on their lives and wondering about what is to come when it’s over, but the writing is so breathtakingly beautiful. The voices of the leaves is so much like two seniors chatting contentedly.

(I was going to include the entire chapter here, but after doing a bit of research, I found that the copyright on the book is still intact until 2022. So instead I will encourage you to seek out the book. You won’t regret it.)

Tonight I made my traditional fall soup, we call it Old Fashioned Soup. It’s just ground beef, onion, canned tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery, with some salt and pepper and a few bay leaves. It’s the ultimate comfort food on a cold and rainy night, and it was just what we needed this evening. My little girl fell asleep sometime before 7pm, (I just went upstairs and found her fast asleep on her bed, so I closed the door and prayed she’d stay that way since it was so close to bedtime,) and so dinnertime tonight was just my 11-year-old son and me. We chatted about school and technology (his latest school assignment is being completed via Google Docs) over our bowls of hot soup and buttered toast. Then I read to him.

Like many boys his age, he’s lost interest in reading over the last year or two, and so recently, determined to reignite his interest, I decided I would go back to my old bedtime tradition of reading to him. At first he thought it was weird, because I haven’t read to him at bedtime since he was probably 7 or 8 years old. But only a night or two of this, and now when I say, “Would you like to read?” he always says, “Yeah, okay,” and goes to get his book. Last week when I told him it was time to shut down the video games for the day, he said, “Well, what am I supposed to do?” I suggested reading his book, and a few minutes later, I found him peacefully sprawled on the couch, reading. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see that my efforts are paying off!

Well, the weather has changed, the days are getting shorter, and I feel like I need to start wearing a sweater. I had the fireplace on today, and ate Old Fashioned Soup. It couldn’t be more fall than this!

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3 thoughts on “A fall night at home

  1. Ha! As soon as I started reading that excerpt, I imagined the conversation when I’d tell you that it reminded me of that chapter in Bambi. You beat me to it!

    Isn’t fall amazing?!?! I was inspired to make soup tonight, too! I’m not sure there is anything better than the crisp outside and the warmth inside.

    Speaking of the weather…gumboots!!

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