My (not so) Big Secret

I think I might be suffering from an addiction. Don’t tell anyone. I want to keep this a secret just between us. Ok? You have to promise before reading more…..


(Photos from Powerscourt, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow)

So if you’re still reading you have agreed to keep my secret, right? Or are you still reading because you are curious and you will decide later whether or not to keep my secret? Or do you never keep secrets? Well in spite of your silence I’m going to trust that you’ll know best whether or not to keep my secret… since I’ve been foolish enough to tell you….


(The old fence between the avenue and the golf course)

I am addicted to picking up autumn leaves. There, I’ve said it. I walk around with my head down searching for the perfect examples, then I stop short, drop to the ground and pick them up. I even do this when I’m on a walk with someone else. They’re happily chatting and walking and I’m on the ground picking leaves. I may have missed a few interesting topics of conversation doing this.


(Seedling on the forest floor)

But the weirdest thing about my addiction is the reason why I can’t seem to stop… but I might just have sussed (old Irish word meaning solved) it. Ok, so come along on a walk with me: We’re on a path bordered by grass and tall trees.The grass is green, the tree trunks are grey with a dusting of green moss towards their bases. They are deciduous trees and their leaves continue to fall all around us as we walk. Our heads are bent down looking for the perfect leaf. We are not talking, we are concentrating. From time to time one of us spots the perfect leaf and drops to the ground, picks it up and has a good look at it.


Lets say it’s you and you’re now holding a maple leaf, so it has three big pointy bits, two small pointy bits and it’s chubby. Too bad… unfortunately the middle pointy bit is a bit off-center, so you know it’s not perfect. Ah well, you hang onto it anyway because the colour is wonderful and the veins on the underside feel lovely to the touch.


(Oh the perfect feather?)

We walk on and continue our search but when it’s time to go home we are no nearer to finding the perfect leaf. All the leaves in your hand have little imperfections, same for me. And yet we’re still carrying them. We seem to like them anyway….

There are no perfect leaves, just amazingly beautiful leaves, bit like us then, Mairead.