The leaves from a family walk last November. How has a year come and gone?

We walked and we talked, we laughed and threw an acorn, a stick or a pine cone across the wooded path. We enjoyed the handiwork of autumn and one another. I picked these that day. Once brilliantly colored leaves that stood out in stark contrast as our feet rustled through hundreds of the crunchy fallen of the season. I chose just five and in their state at the time, still fresh and pliable, quite flat, bright canary colored and in perfect gradation of size from large to small. Like a little family I suppose. Just like ours. I bound them together with a bit of twine so to keep this leaf family—the moment really—tied to my heart.

My own mother kept several collections of things like leaves and small trains and other trinkets gathered from meaningful life moments. They had their own significance to her as anything we humans choose to collect will have. The sentimental among us will place a certain unascertainable value on our collectibles as there is often no real monetary worth in them. But to us . . . to us they serve as memorials of how we felt when we visited that grand cathedral or small chapel, those faraway castle ruins, or the walk in the park with someone worth remembering. They serve as a touchstone to a time or a love or a memory we choose to hold dear.

And so in the sentimental mind we look back. We recall. We reminisce about the days that came before. We save stuff that sparks the journey back to when . . . and with a small scrap of twine we hold our favored moments of the past together. Our fond memories are really quite a gift. Though the dried leaves may crumble and descend into dust, the tie . . . the tie is what binds us to those moments gone before. Blessed be the tie that binds.

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