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Maple Leaves Forever

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maple leaves
Maple leaves

Always something there to remind me.

Maple leaves falling in Autumn always bring echoes from another life for me. A life that was cut short with no warning.

But I survived and came home to England with two beautiful little reminders of the life I’d had in their father’s country. There have been 31 Autumns since I returned and my sons have grown into fine, strong men with babies of their own. Canada is nothing more than a bitter sweet memory because I never went back.

But there is a third souvenir from my old life. When my parents came to see me in 1978, I lived on the leafy Rusholme Road in Toronto. One day my father picked up a ‘helicopter’ that had spun down from one of the beautiful Sugar Maples on my street.

He put it in his jacket pocket and forgot about it.

Then, months later, back at home, he found it there in his pocket. He dropped it on the lawn in front of the house in England.

When my life ended in Canada, I came back to pick up the pieces of my old life. The little Maple tree was a sapling on my parents’ lawn. It was nothing much to look at in 1983.

But as the boys grew, so did the tree. It is now a towering, beautiful reminder of another time and another place. The memories make me smile… most of the time.

Maple Tree In Mum and Dads Garden

Every year the tree stands tall in Autumn and simply lets go of what was. Something maybe we could all learn from. The leaves drift down covering the front garden and most of the street with beautiful Maple leaves.

Every year, I watch the carpet grow; some days, the leaves have beautiful droplets of dew on them. Every year I always say I will take a picture of one but I never do.This year I did.

As I focused my lens on the dew drops, my vision became misty. I remembered the Canadian fall.  Being up at the lake.Tramping through the leaves.

Closing the family cottage for winter before the snow made access difficult. Sitting on the verandah sipping coffee for one last time with our coats pulled tightly around us listening to the sound of Loons calling on the lake.


The Maple leaves laying on the lawn hold so much meaning . They trigger many buried memories..

It has all been gone for such a long time. All except the tree. The tree that started as a tiny seed on Rusholme Road is survivor from the same past as me.

We have so much in common. I am so grateful that my father picked it up and let it take root.

If you enjoyed this post from October 2015, you can read other posts about Autumn on Terri Webster-Schrandt’s website, Second Wind Leisure Perspectives and, if you have any Autumn stories or pictures yourself, you can join the linky-party.

52 thoughts on “Maple Leaves Forever”

  1. Such a beautiful post, Gill.
    I love maple trees (I tried to grow some, but they don’t well in pots for obvious reasons and we don’t have a garden). I felt your experience.
    Fall is my favorite season of the year. The hopes of rebirth after the winter is everywhere. Those colorful leaves are something so special.
    I was there with you, when you took the picture…

    1. Thanks Debbie, I appreciate your visit and comments. Sorry to hear they won’t grow in pots! I wonder if you can create a Bonsai Maple – it must be possible.

  2. Hi Gilly, thank you so much for bringing such a quality post to Fridays Blog Booster Party #30. It is not hard to see why you are a writer, this is so beautiful and artistically stated. I love the point of Autumn leaves letting go of what is past. The awesome thing is that after a time the tree brings forth new life and new hope.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments Kathleen. It was a pleasure to join the Friday Blog Booster Party and I am sure I will be back. Many thanks for hosting them and giving writers the chance to meet up. I appreciate your visit here.

    1. Thank you Corinne – I always appreciate your visits and comments here. Am just about to go over and continue reading your reviews which I started yesterday.

  3. Wow, what a moving post. As someone who has moved countries many times in the last decade and now lives in the UK, I feel like you leave a little part of you everywhere you’ve lived. How amazing that that little seed took root!

  4. Absolutely beautiful post Gilly! Fall is my favorite time of year. California is slow to jump on the autumn bandwagon (85 degrees today), so I must live vicariously through your photos if I want some Fall leaves!

    1. Awww c’mon!!!! 85 degrees – why wasn’t I born in California – I seriously would not mind a delayed Fall to have that kind of weather. Thanks for coming by Terri, I appreciate your thoughts.

  5. What a beautiful story. I live in a place called Maple Bluff, and am surrounded by Maple trees. There is something magical about them, especially in the fall. The colors are beautiful. I have fond memories of playing with the helicopters as a child.

    1. Oooh Maple Bluff – that sounds like something from a romantic novel! Sounds wonderful – you must be knee deep in leaves, my parents just have the one and there are thousands of leaves! Thanks for your input – it is much appreciated Michele.

  6. This is beautiful! There is something about the maple leaf in particular that speaks to me as well. The tenderness of your images perfectly reflect your tone. Thank you for writing this!

  7. “Every year the tree stands tall in Autumn and simply lets go of what was.” Now you’ve done it. Made me cry. The comments your post elicited are wonderful too. And the line from Hafiz is a favorite of mine. Your corner of the internet is like your maple tree — full of quiet beauty.

    1. Thanks Mithra – didn’t mean to make anyone cry! I have been in tears today several times too reading stuff that has touched me. I really appreciate your thoughts and time in visiting here.

  8. Hello Gilly, You always remind me how simpatico we are. It is as if you exchanged sides across the pond. I know the street in Toronto where you lived. I can relate to your memories. Nature can give us our most profound memories because all our senses are involved.
    I had a favorite tree in the backyard where I grew up in London. It was a sycamore tree, I loved that tree, hugged it and climbed it often as a child. It was the only tree in that tiny backyard and every year the ground was covered with bunny ears, or as I use to call them, antlers because they reminded me of the antlers on the deer in nearby Victoria Park. When I first came to Canada and saw a maple tree, I thought I was seeing my sycamore tree again. As time goes by memories of youth and friendships in another country become found souvenirs.
    I don’t go to Toronto much these days, as I have probably said before the place is changing so fast, I don’t recognise it after a few weeks of being away. So as our memories cross the ocean and recall those times,
    let us remember together and as Robbie Burns said:
    “And there’s a hand, my trusty friend!
    And give us a hand of yours!
    And we’ll take a deep draught of good-will
    For long, long ago.”
    Thank you for a beautiful post. The photos are lovely.

    1. Hi Judith – thank you for this lovely comment – it brought tears to my eyes. I hadn’t encounterd that Robbie Burns verse before – it’s beautiful. I think I get more sentimental as I get older! It’s so nice to hear someone say they knew my old street because I sometimes think I dreamt the whole 10 years I lived in Canada. I have no one to share old memories with from that period and it’s quite a lonely feeling; it was a huge part of my life with some devastating events that no one in my current life can relate to in any way. My sons don’t remember much about it and I gradually lost touch with all my old friends, all but one or two. If e mail had been around then it would have been different but I was too busy to be writing letters to post and transatlantic phone calls calls were SO expensive back then. My sons are now in touch with some of their long lost relatives from their dad’s side through Facebook. Part of me would like to go back for a look but it sounds as if nothing would be the same now. Thanks for visiting Judith, I love your comments and I feel sure that we did swap lives across as the pond.

  9. Autumn and Spring are by far my favourite seasons – autumn for the colours and also the act of letting go, and Spring for life renewed. It is nature’s reminder to us of the circle of life. What I love most about this post though, Gilly, is your story of survival. It seems to me that you are more than a survivor, you are a thriver, just like that beautiful maple tree in your parent’s front garden. And thank goodness for that! xx

    1. Thank you Sarah. Yes, me too – Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons for the same reasons. Do you think it’s having children that makes us determined to not only survive but thrive?(This is turning into a poem!!!!) I think if I hadn’t had them I may have curled up and died but they kind of get you into the mindset of pushing forward and making the best of it. Thanks again for stopping by here. xx

  10. Gilly, your heart is precious and just helped me grow a bit! What a lovely post. Letting go can often be difficult and yet each fall reminds us that without the letting go things would never be new!!

    1. Thank you for that Robyn – that’s really sweet. Nature is a brilliant teacher and the lessons are so simple. I sat in my parents’ garden a few years ago and noticed a blooming poppy right next to some that had finished. I suddenly somehow felt better about death. So I took a picture of the poppy and wrote some words to sum up what I saw – I will see if I can dig it out and post it here next time. Thanks for reminding me with your comment.

  11. Thank you for sharing this. Immediately took me back to memories of being a kid and playing outside in the leaves, collecting the prettiest ones and then doing a project at school where we pressed a leaf between 2 pieces of waxpaper.

  12. I adore this. And it gave me chills. And made me tear up.

    We just passed October 21, which is a milestone for my life, because our house burned down on October 21, 1986 when I was 16. So…autumn always reminds me of that terrible year but also all the wonderful things that have happened since.

    I, too, have been blessed to have some reminders. We have gone back to our old home site/property over the years and dug plants from my mom’s old garden there, or what is left of it, as the forest has reclaimed the land and it’s hard to tell that a family once lived there at all. I have dug some of her irises, and they have spread until now I see them everywhere I look, in my gardens in the spring.

    One year I cut and dug a tiny slip from my mom’s single lilac bush, which still stands on the corner of what used to be part of the road through the property. The road is now growing in with trees and underbrush, and I imagine that soon you won’t be able to tell it was a road at all. I always think…someday someone may hike through there and wonder why there’s a lilac bush in the middle of the forest, and they’ll never know all the memories that happened in that little clearing, once upon a time.

    I brought the lilac cutting home and carefully potted it up, and it has grown into its own beautiful lilac bush, taller than me now, and every spring I smell that amazing fragrance, and I tear up a little, but I also smile, because I have a tangible piece of my childhood and of a life that exists only in memory now.

    Thank you for sharing this. I love, love, love that you have a whole tree!

    1. Oh my goodness Stef! What an awful experience – truly horrible. But what a story – just from what you have said here I can feel the atmosphere of the reclamation you are describing. Nature moves so swiftly to write us out of history. Living things like trees and plants are so healing and I really understand what you are saying about having the Irises and Lilac to remind you of your old home. Do you think you will ever write about it? Maybe you have already and I should go look! Hope you guys are all ok – will be in touch soon – been a bit anti tech like you lately but am dipping in and out. Thanks for reading and commenting – appreciate it.

      1. Thanks my dear. I will probably write more about it someday. I started a series called my Time Traveler posts, where I begin with our hippie days in the 1970s, and then our crazy back to nature move to Idaho, where we built this house. I haven’t quite got up to the part where it all unraveled– the house burned down, and my parents divorced and moved away when I was 17, and I finished high school on my own. It’s a crazy story, but it’s not funny at all, so I haven’t gone into it much. Maybe someday though.

        Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the unplugged-ness. I’m loving it. Haven’t seen or heard or read the news since about the first week of October. Let me know if anything earth-shattering happens… 😉

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