Autumn alights on my kitchen table as neighborhood children unload this gift of leaves. We configure the apparatus: one leaf, a white sheet of paper, and a broken crayon stripped of its packaging.
|Leaf Rubbings on an Autumn Evening
We smooth the crayon against the clean page. As if by magic, the unseen leaf appears.
The children hold their breath, amazed. One of them looks at her paper and then up at me. She exclaims, “We didn’t even need the Internet to do this!”
My youngest is overcome with the impossibility of it–a crayon pressed to her page reveals a pattern that’s there but could not previously be seen.
All night I press my mind against this event. The leaf represented a reality we couldn’t see but that made itself evident when we rubbed against it. Was I encountering a truly beautiful thing in that moment, the kind of beauty philosophers pause for, the kind of beauty that poets claim can break your heart (and repair it)?
It’s always there, underneath.