Monday, September 25, 2006

Besides the autumn poets sing

They're much prettier elsewhere, I'm told. Like up in Stowe, Vermont. Here, they're just a nuisance. Wet, dirty, and sticky: covering your yard (if you have one; I don't), clinging to your car (if you drive one; I don't), attaching themselves to your shoes, where they are then dragged inside your home.

They're not leaf peepers, they're leaf poopers -- party poopers, if you will -- and I don't agree with them. They're just as pretty here in the city. The sugar maples, the beech, the birch, the oak. The candy apple reds and banana skin yellows on their tops, and the soft, fleshy pink color underneath. The way they congregate in tiny groups, like they're taking solace in one another's company, a support group for those once employed in the industry of photosynthesis -- then the wind gives them a small fright and they scatter in every direction.

I gather up some leaves and paste them to construction paper, like a grade schooler in art class. I crush up the really dry ones, relishing that crinkley sound. I stuff a handful down the back of my friend's sweater. I bury myself in a large pile, up to my chin, taking in that acrid smell.

Brooklyn's Oxford Collapse must be leaf peepers. On their forthcoming album, they implore us to "Please Visit Your National Parks." White Mountain National Forest would be a good destination, I'm told. Not too far from here. They also sing, "For The Khakis And The Sweatshirts," which is the standard uniform of us autumn revelers.

Vancouver's The Be Good Tanyas also have songs that call to mind autumn: "Scattered Leaves" and "Out Of The Wilderness." Melancholic and haunting -- just like the season.