We usually get rid of leaves in the fall, but with Mother’s Day around the corner, I would like to share a poem about something my mother and I did together. In the fall of 1988, I was living with my mother in Sheridan, Wyoming, while looking for work after completing a six-month internship at a nursing home in Fargo,North Dakota, and becoming a registered music therapist. One day, Mother and I were in the front yard raking leaves when she got a sudden urge to relive her childhood memory of burning them. According to the poem from How toBuild a BetterMousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver, this could have been a disaster but wasn’t.
We gathered them into bags, placed them curbside. Mother said, “We used to burn the leaves. It was the smell of fall. Let’s burn a few now.”
It had been a dry year. Forest fires raged around us. I couldn’t remember the last time it rained. “I don’t think this is a good idea,” I said.
“Stop being such a chicken. Help me gather leaves into a pile.” With a sick feeling in my stomach, I did as I was told.
She struck a match–nothing happened. The wind came up. Leaves drifted away, as if they knew of their fate. She tried again with no results. After several more tries, she gave up, to my relief. We got rid of the leaves in the usual way.
My mother passed away from cancer on December 15th, 1999, but the memories still remain. What about you? Please feel free to tell me about something you did with your mother by leaving a comment below.