The fall of Sarah's second year we lived in a small town in southern Indiana (population 7,000). The closest city of any size and with any shopping to speak of was twenty miles away. Since we only had one car, our daily routine consisted of a morning walk, an afternoon trip to the park or library, a visit to a few elderly neighbors, and a few minutes of reading books on the parsonage swing before bedtime.
I cherish the days Sarah and I went walking through leaves. One October day, I dressed her in a long sleeved white cotton shirt and a tan corduroy jumpsuit. I made most of her clothes including this outfit. She liked reindeer at the time and I appliqued a deer to the bib. She liked pointing to the deer on her little suit saying, "deer mommy, deer".
On that cool, sunny, morning, we wore jackets and I placed a little hat on Sarah's head. It covered her medium brown chin length hair that I pulled to the side with a ribbon or barrette. We began our walk on the sidewalk that outlined the front of the parsonage and the church. There were no leaves on our path as the custodian was care to keep the walk clear.
When we crossed the street, however, we discovered blocks and blocks of sidewalks covered with layers of leaves.
"Look at all the leaves, Sarah," I said. "I see red, yellow, brown and green leaves."
"Leaves, yellow, green, brown and red," she echoed.
We held hands watching dead, dried leaves that fell from old, old trees almost like rain. I noted the leaves came to Sarah's knees as we continued. Sometimes she "marched" when the leaves were so deep she had to lift her legs to keep moving forward. I realized in those moments I was witnessing a time that would pass like a blink of an eye, so I absorbed the sound of every leaf she crunched and each word she spoke to describe our time together.
"There will be many fall seasons as Sarah grows," I thought. "However, her two-year-old October is the only one when the leaves will be ' knee high'".