©Hector Lee, 2014

©Hector Lee, 2014

Who makes these changes?
I shoot an arrow right.
It lands left.
I ride after a deer and find myself
Chase by a hog.
I plot to get what I want
And I end up in prison.
I dig pits to trap others
And fall in.

I should be suspicious
Of what I want.
–Rumi

Raking up piles of leaves from deciduous trees is the classic image of fall. As a child in the Central Valley, I recall seeing images of children falling on and running through piles of leaves as an irresistible pleasure. The kids were having fun. My home was absent of trees whose leaves would fall to experience this for myself; I had to content myself that other children, could experience this for themselves.

My elementary school, however, was lined with tall, proud sycamore trees, which shed their leaves in the fall. However the maintenance personnel gathered and put into the garbage bins. Rarely were the leaves left in piles for children to discover. My first hand experience finally occurred at grandparents’ house, who had a tall fresno tree in their front yard. my grandfather had gathered a pile of yellow ash leaves ash and I rallied my younger brothers in the venture by jumping into the pile, which I had imagined as falling into a feather bed not the hard reality of the cold, hard reality I experienced. Nonetheless we continued to toss the leaves about until I noticed that some of the leaves from the bottom of the pile had small slugs, which left me disgusted. Soon my grandfather came out and gave us what for and we raked up the leaves.

The experience cured me of the illusion of jumping into a pile of leaf litter but it didn’t cure me of following other illusions.

©Hector Viveros Lee, 2014

Hector Viveros Lee (BAWP 1998) has been teaching in public schools for 25+ years. He is an Instructional Reform Facilitator-Literacy Coach at Marshall Elementary in San Francisco. This once and future author/illustrator’s books can be found at http://www.leeandlow.com/.

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