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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Season(s) of a year or life (01/13/11)

TITLE: Dancing With Maple Leaves
By Jack Taylor
01/19/11


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Dancing with Maple Leafs

There it is. Do you feel it? Of course you do. Everyone knows that feel of the rainbow carpet underfoot after the wind has done its work. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve danced here before. The world somehow comes alive in this place. And here you are, just in time.

“Grandma, your foot just twitched. Are you okay?”

I was hardly tall enough to touch the muzzle of daddy’s old mare when mummy brought me here the first time. She put one of these red ones in my hair and strung a dozen gold ones around my neck. I felt like a princess in her royal ballroom. Maybe even a queen.

“Grandma. Are they feeding you okay?”

Do you feel it on your face? Like the gentle touch of a feather brushing by. This breeze loves to tease my curls. Did you notice? Such a mischievous little nymph, skirting through my dance floor right at this important moment. I need a partner.

“I’ll move this fan. I can’t for the life of me figure out why they put your chair right here.”

It feels like yesterday that I met your daddy right here in the middle of all this liberated foliage. His ballroom dancing put me to shame, but it sure won my heart. We tripped right here on a root and fell into a pile of orange and red and yellow. It almost swallowed us up. Our first kiss was that day.

“Grandma, you’re smiling. Are they treating you okay in here?”

Oh look, they’re everywhere. The silver grey giants are springing up again from this multi-coloured carpet. They’re stretching their feathery tentacles toward the murky tumbleweeds roiling across the ceiling of my world. Trying to tickle the clouds like your daddy used to tickle you on the swing over there. There’s another drop. Falling gently down my cheek. Washing my world clean. Did you feel it? Isn’t it wonderful?

“Grandma, you’re crying. Are you sure you’re okay?”

I used to say my best prayers over there just when the sun was setting. I’d bundle up when it got too crisp and just embrace the silence for a while. My nose would tingle until some days I thought it might drop right off. God was so near. I think he liked to come and dance on those maple leaves as well. I’m sure I saw his foot prints. Have you ever watched God dance in the leaves?

“Grandma, did you hear me? I said Timmy’s turning three. I took him out to see those maple leaves the other day. I’ve never seen a boy so happy. Grandma, can you hear me?”

You know why I felt so guilty about coming here, don’t you? You probably don’t remember. You’re so young. It was right over there that your brother fell off the swing you loved. I was covering you with leaves and left him for just a minute. He was swinging so high and he was calling to me. And we were playing. And then he was screaming.... Oh, you sure did love those leaves.

“Grandma, I’ve got some great news. Timmy is going to have a sister. He won’t have to grow up alone like I did. Isn’t that wonderful?”

The hardest time for me is the nights. Something changes here. The leaves disappear. If only I could dance on them for a while. Even if they crunched instead of swished. I’d be okay with that. Maybe it’s the music. Do you think they change the music when the sun goes down?

“Grandma, Dan’s got a new job. He’s a manager now. I’m so proud of him. He even got nominated for the deacon’s board at church. He’s so happy to be a papa again.”

I think the red ones are my favourite. They’re so bright. I wish they came in flavours. I’m sure I’d eat them all until I’m full. Do you think these leaves are flavoured in heaven?

“Grandma, I brought you a new sweater. See, here? It’s got a maple leaf sewn into it. Next time I come I’ll take you out for a walk. The leaves will be turning soon. You know how you used to love the leaves? Maybe I’m expecting too much to think you’d remember something so long ago.”

Well, I’m tired. I was hoping to see my daughter today. Maybe we could dance in the leaves one more time. Please tell her I’m waiting.


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This article has been read 258 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/22/11
What a bittersweet story. Alzheimer's definitely robs the whole family. Maybe if you had put Grandma's thoughts in italics, it might have had a bigger impact. I do think you did a marvelous job showing what life is like for so many people.
Michael Joshua01/23/11
Superb. Brought tears to my eyes. My favorite this week.
Karen Pourbabaee 01/25/11
This was lovely and a realistic picture of those going through various forms of dementia and its impact on loved ones, such a tough season to walk through and you captured it well.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/28/11
Congratulations for placing 11th in level 3!