Autumn Leaves

This time of year I'm still walking outdoors, and enjoying it, for as long as I can. Soon, the snow on the roads won't melt during the day, and the ice will force me to the treadmill. But not yet.

Monday, I picked up two leaves--one a bright orange birch-type with a dark streak down the middle, another with lobes (like a maple or white poplar) that was a tasteful pink-and-yellow. They were lovely, a really eye-catching moment of brightness on a grey day when autumn has nearly-but-not-quite lost its glory.

There they are, below:

No, really. 

See, it started raining while I was out, and an unpleasant encounter with workers in my neighbourhood had left me rattled, so when I got home I put my dripping waterproof jacket and pants into the dryer without emptying the pockets. 

And then I had to race through the shower and get to town for a work date, and on the way, two different cars apparently didn't see mine (though I was driving with my lights on, even) and they nearly hit me. I was late for the meeting (which itself went fine except for the meter that ate my toonie) and then I had a frazzling wait at the pharmacy, and then several main roads were blocked off and the rush-hour traffic was even more hellish than usual, and my car was low on gas. 

However, I gritted my teeth and survived it all. 

When I got home, I retrieved my jacket and pants from the dryer but didn't think even then to look for those beautiful leaves. It finally occurred to me in the evening, as I reviewed my day.

I'd completely forgotten the lovely moments early in the walk, before the initial unpleasantness with the workers. I didn't have any control over their behavior, and I am in no way excusing it. 

I do wish, though, I had remembered the leaves when I got home from walking, before they had their fifteen minutes in the dryer. I could have participated in the beauty of that moment again. 

Would it have changed the other factors that made Monday so stressful?

Nope. But if I'd remembered the leaves, I could have thought of them as I settled into my work spot after losing $2 in a parking meter. I could have remembered them as I sat in backed-up traffic. I could have pictured them while I shivered through gassing up my car.

I try to notice those small moments for stressful situations just like those on Monday. This time, that strategy didn't work as I'd planned. 

At least I remember them now. And that's not nothing.