Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Fall “Catch a Leaf” Ritual


 
The old family homestead where I grew up in Wrentham, Massachusetts was called “Maple Farm.” It wasn’t much of a farm but there were a ton of maple trees around the big back yard.

So, around the age of 12 or 13, being the self-absorbed ego-inflated boy that I was…

BUTLER: “Was? You still are! You and Bagman, both.”

BAGMAN: “And you too, Butler! You think your perfectionism isn’t related to ego?”

…anyhow, I decided that pumpkin carving was okay but what the world really needed was a new fun-filled Fall ritual. So I made one up called "Fall Leaf-Catching.”

The idea was simple: At some point in Autumn, you had to go out and catch a leaf that was falling from a tree before it hit the ground. Then you put the leaf somewhere secure where it will never touch the ground. By doing this, you ensured yourself a year of good luck.

I think I invented this ritual really to give myself an excuse to run around in circles trying to catch windblown, zig-zagging leaves, diving heroically onto the ground at the last moment, impressing grass and mud stains forever into my clothes. I figured that if one leaf brought good luck, a thousand leaves would bring even better luck, so the game could go on all Fall.

I taught this ritual to all my friends so that they could teach it to their friends and it would eventually be known around the world. And mostly because we could all run around in wild circles, crashing into each other, laughing, and creating even greater laundry challenges for our parents.

I don’t think this ritual ever really caught on worldwide, but I continued to do it into adulthood although with progressively less and less running and diving. In college I taught it to a few girlfriends, mostly because it was a cheaper afternoon activity than dinner and a movie.

But the fact is, while it never became as popular pumpkin carving, I still do it in my sixties although it now contains no running at all and mostly relies on the number of leaves falling and the statistical probability that one will eventually hit me. This year, I caught one by complete accident while riding the riding-lawnmower. But I dutifully tucked it away in the corner of the shed.

Another year of good luck ahead of me. Hooray!

And who knows? Now that I’ve put it out there in the blogosphere, perhaps it will catch on.

9 comments:

  1. how is it possible - this post is a day old and no other comments.... where is your fan club?
    all the time I was reading this the song - 'catch a falling star and put it in your pocket'
    what is the rest - just a minute let me google it. oh it so long but here it is anyway minus the chorus and humming....

    Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
    Never let it fade away!
    Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
    Save it for a rainy day!

    For love may come an' tap you on the shoulder,
    Some star-less night!
    Just in case you feel you wanna’ hold her,
    You’ll have a pocketful of starlight!

    .... For love may come and tap you on the shoulder,
    Some star-less night!
    An’ just in case you feel you wanta’ hold her,
    You’ll have a pocketful of starlight!

    .... For when your troubles startn’ multiplyin’,
    An' they just might!
    It’s easy to forget them without tryin’,
    With just a pocketful of starlight!

    Catch a falling star an’
    put it in your pocket,
    Never let it fade away!
    Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
    Save it for a rainy day!

    Music and Lyrics by Lee Pockriss
    and Paul Vance

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  2. I think you have hit upon a delightful tradition. I will try it myself. It reminds me of catching soap bubbles in the air, only of course the leaf makes it out in one piece and the poor bubble usually didn't.

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  3. GingerV, some of the fanclub were at work by the time this posting was put online, and so I only saw it this morning :-)

    Bagman and Butler, what?! You have not heard of the famous "Blätterfangen" in Germany?! It is only upstaged by the equally famous Octoberfest! And what about the same dear tradition in Italy, called "I Fogli Cadenti" and celebrated even on the smaller vulcanic islands? Of course everybody knows about this ritual in France, where people affectionately simply call it "Les Feuilles" :-D

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  4. They do, Librarian? It sounds like a fun tradition and I just might try it this weekend. After 15 years here I've never heard of "les feuilles", though of course there must be plenty of things like that I've just not come across.

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  5. I think you have missed an economic opportunity here. I can just see a lemonade stand where this little guy sells "lucky" leaves.

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  6. Lucky leaves, well that sounds like a great tradition. I can remember my little ones doing that, then falling into the stacks of leaves. All I could think of was ticks. You know the motherly type. I would have to stand still to catch a leaf myself. They are out there for sure. blessings
    QMM

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  7. I think I will watch. Perhaps I will call my sponsor and watch.

    LOL

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  8. Hmm. I was out for a photo walk this morning (see blog), admiring the leaves. There are lots on the ground, but still more in most of the trees. I didn't notice any falling down. . . but now I'll watch (and wait. . . and wait. . .).

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  9. I totally dig it! Will teach it to my children. You rock, B and B!!

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