By Kristy Gherlone
Adirondack leaves in the early springtime were always the happiest.
Their parents, pregnant with new budding youngsters, finally released them, sending them off with a loving snap and a reminder to behave.
They’d rustle off in search of mischief, dying with curiosity to explore the places they’d only heard about from the gossiping birds.
They’d skip down to the still frozen, glassy lake, tripping and twisting over one another to be the first on the ice. They would chase around calling ‘You’re it!’, while whipping up and down and side to side to avoid capture.
One year, a small fellow, a bit too eager, slid unceremoniously into a watery hole and couldn’t get out.
The wind, thoroughly enjoying the game and not ready to see it end, took pity on him and lifted him in one big gentle huff, setting him free again.
The little leaf laughed, his heart racing as the others, in hot pursuit, tried to catch him. He somersaulted in the air, twisting back in the other direction and scampered out of reach.
Growing bored of that play eventually, they’d go snooping under porches and poking around under the fat old pine bushes.
Inevitably, they’d make a nuisance of themselves with all that giggling and get evicted. Pushed back out into the world, they’d scatter every which a way, fluttering off in search of new interests.
They take to the fields, frightening the deer with their antics, sending them prancing off with warning stomps.
They’d rush into the farmer’s yard, gathering in noisy clusters until he threatened them with the rake.
When the season grew late, they’d find themselves quite tired. Yawning, they would look for a quiet place to settle in. The warming earth would welcome them.
With tender fingers, she’d hold them in a soothing embrace as they drifted off to sleep. They dreamt of new adventures, never knowing that they wouldn’t wake to play again.