Fall: Love it or leaf it

Northern Minnesota is approaching peak fall colors. Find out more about where to find the fine foliage.

Northern Minnesota is approaching peak fall colors. Find out more about where to find the fine foliage.


aaron_croppedHigh up an old oak tree on a rolling hill just outside Hibbing, Minnesota, two talking leaves dangle by hardening stems. Fall has arrived.

LEAFY: Lefty, you ever get the sense that things are changing?

LEFTY: Everythin’ changes, Leafy. No point worryin.’

LEAFY: But, I mean, *really* changing. I don’t know how to tell you this, Lefty, but you’re yellow.

LEFTY: Who you callin,’ yeller!

LEAFY: I mean the color yellow.

LEFTY: Aww, heck. You turned yeller last week. I wasn’t gonna’ say nothing, since I was ‘parently raised more polite than you.

LEAFY: I’m yellow too?!

LEFTY: Yup, we’re both yeller.

LEAFY: Lefty, that’s bad! I saw a leaf turn yellow one time; it fell right off the tree.

LEFTY: Yeah, I saw that too. Didn’t care for that feller. Reckon he was one of those leaves what likes to photosynthesize the sunlight and carbon dioxide what other leaves done collected, then pretend like he a’ been workin’ hard all day.

LEAFY: I wonder what happened to him. I mean, it’s happening to us, too.

LEFTY: I figure, when a leaf done its job, it gets the greatest gift of all — to fly away on the winds of change. We get a l’il while to float on down to that big green earth of ours and kick our lobes up for a nice rest. After that, well, heck. Who needs to be up on this tree all winter long.

LEAFY: It’s just that … I think I saw something one time. A guy came by on some kind of moving metal thing that chopped up all the leaves and grass below.

LEFTY: Well, sure. That don’ matter much. See, then we get to be four or five leaves instead of just one.

LEAFY: No, I mean it *really* chopped up those leaves. Like, into hundreds of pieces. There’s no way that leaf still knows it’s a leaf.

LEFTY: Well, then it ain’t a leaf. Who needs to be a leaf? Each of them bits becomes somethin’ else. Maybe they become the dirt that surrounds the acorns, get picked on up into a new tree. Maybe them parts get to be a thousand leaves some day. Who knows? I’m just an old leaf with funny idears.

LEAFY: I guess I’m just nervous, that’s all. Being a leaf is all I know. It’s a good life. The view is fantastic. You’re surrounded by friends. Up here on the tall branches you don’t get eaten by deer.

LEFTY: Well, I can understand that, fer’ sure. Look at it this way, at least you don’t have to go and be a maple leaf.

LEAFY: Amen, there, brother. Oak!


LEAFY: Hey, Lefty. You ever hear the one about the maple leaf that got its stem stuck in a gutter. It was so embarrassed it turned red!’

LEFTY: Hee-hee! Yup, that’s a good one. You ever hear about the maple leaf that done absorbed too much Miracle Gro? He got a big ol’ stomata ache!

LEAFY: Ha-ha-ha! Hey, why did the maple leaf cancel his subscription to the newspaper? Because they stopped running the Calvin and Hobbes Cycle.

LEFTY: Ooooo! Funny. ‘Cause the Calvin Cycle is how leaves up and process carbon dioxide into plant sugars.

LEAFY: Yep. Gee, Lefty, I guess as long as you’ve got someone to share your time with and a chance to laugh, life on the tree ain’t all bad. It’ll end when it’ll end.

LEFTY: That’s right, Leafy. Before you leave, you’re a leaf. Don’t forget it.

This was originally published in the Oct. 29, 2013 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune. Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range author and community college instructor. He writes the blog MinnesotaBrown.com and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. The next show is Saturday, Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. at Crosby-Ironton High School in Crosby, Minnesota. Call 218-326-1234 for free ticket information.

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