She picks them up slowly, always by their stems, examining, pressing them firmly to her sweater. "Leev," she says. "Leev, mama! Leev!" She crunches small piles with boots barely worn, choosing among the mess beneath them which ones are for keeps. Within moments her hands are full, and then, so are mine.
Finding a street lined with fallen leaves is like stumbling upon fall in an endless summer. We take pause, move slowly down.
Suddenly a squirrel crosses the street and she gasps, dropping her leaves, leaves them there. "Fable," I say. "You forgot..." But they've already blown away. "Ba-bye leev," she says and I follow her around the corner where the sidewalks are once again leafless, clean paths onward.
Bored, we turn around. Start again. Crunch. Choose. Examine. Keep. "Leev," she says, over and over and up and down, until finally, we do.