The crisp autumn leaf jiggled above my head, suspended from a fragmented spider’s web. Antsy, it twirled left and right, like a toddler kept in tow by dutiful parents. Between gentle gusts, the leaf hung motionless, a tired two-year-old gathering her second burst of energy. I tried to photograph that moment of stillness, but wind captured the bit of foliage and it danced away on invisible strands.

For several days, I watched its antics through the kitchen window. And waited. Each time I rushed to click the camera my delicate dancer twirled from side to side and upward and as far as the tether allowed – an adolescent testing her self-reliance, but still oh-so dependent.

On the third day, my leaf vanished! I miss its bravado, its reluctance to pose, its pirouette. This fragile bit of fall lingered for several days, then, like all children, broke free of parental hold and struck out on its own.


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