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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Leaves & Lives

Air Date: Week of

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Producer Bob Carty has an audio montage about the joys and hardships that the dropping of leaves brings us each fall.


CURWOOD: They’re on their way out, the leaves. Once green and glorious they fall to carpet the earth and then return to it. They are truly leaving and turning – the maple and birch and cherry and oak into red and yellow and gold and brown. They are decidedly deciduous and in places where foliage flourishes, the center of an annual experience. Producer Bob Carty has this sound montage he calls, “Leaves and Lives.”


CHILD 1: …I’m going to do a belly flop.

CHILD 2: Me, too.

CHILD 1: Do it Mom, make a big one. Mom, here’s some over here!

MOTHER: How’s that?

CHILD: Good!


CHILD: When we jump in it’s sort of crumbly.


CHILD: There’s only a certain time of the year, one season, October, when they fall. It’s the only time of the year when we get to play with them


CHILD: I’m getting more leaves on the rake than I am on the pile.

MOTHER: It’s pretty big.

CHILD: Now, let’s jump in it.

CHILD: No, it’s not ready yet, there’s still a lot more to go. We want to have the biggest pile…

CHILD: I like burying myself, and then when people come by I can, like, pop out. And then you take a pile and throw it at your sister.


CHILD: Please stand clear of the raking grounds. Please stand clear.


FEMALE: My most special part of the day is walking with the kids to school. And this time of the year it’s very special, because we go walking along kicking the leaves.


FEMALE: And lot’s of time during our day, our day is so busy and so full that we don’t have time to really talk to each other. But right now these days we walk along, and kick the leaves, and talk. Walk along, kick the leaves, and talk.


FEMALE: There’s the compulsive raker who rakes the first leaf and waits for the rest of the leaves to fall and rakes them as fast as possible. Then there’s the fifty leaf at a time guy. He’s the one who leaves the rake on the porch and goes out and rakes little piles and leaves them on the grass so they can blow all over again. Then there’s the guy who waits for it all to dump and rakes it all at once, and puts it in bags to get rained on [LAUGHTER]. And then there’s us [LAUGHTER]. We’re the “if God wanted leaves to be raked he wouldn’t have made them fall from trees.” [LAUGHTER].


FEMALE: One morning I was woken up, woken from a really deep sleep to a monotonous, rrrrrrrrrr. And you’re like – what is that? You go out and there’s some idiot, and they have to be idiots, using one of those leaf blower things. Like, why would you want to do that?

FEMALE 2: Too bad, is what we say. We don’t just have the blower that blows them. We have the mulcher. It’s fabulous. I have the largest tomatoes ever – ever – and I think it has a lot to do with that leaf blower mulcher thing.


FEMALE 2: How is raking romantic? It’s you and a stick. How is that romantic?


FEMALE: I remember once I made this huge pile. It seemed huge, anyhow. And I dove into it and ten seconds later this other fellow that I had a huge crush on leapt into the very same pile. And he parted some of the leaves away and took my face in his hands and gave me this big kiss under the leaves. And there were other people on the street but they couldn’t see what was going on under the leaves. So every time the leaves start to turn I remember that kiss from Valerian. We were six.


FEMALE: I have always kind of mixed feelings about fall and the colors, because the colors are so absolutely beautiful they always just take my breath away. But also, it’s my birthday around fall, and I’m always aware of the undertow of winter and the passage of time, and the idea of death. And I guess, you know, you can just take it to another level and just say that we all want to go out in one great big flash of great light. But it’s always bittersweet. I’m not afraid of death, but I feel melancholy with the passage of time and how quickly it is going by.

[MUSIC: I miss you, most of all, my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall….
Eva Cassidy “Autumn Leaves” SONGBIRD (Blix Street – 1998)]


CHILD 1 : …I’m going to do a belly flop.

CHILD 2: Me too.

CHILD 1: Do it Mom, make a big one. Mom, here’s some over here!

MOTHER: How’s that?

CHILD: Good!


[MUSIC: Anne Downey (trad) “Cold Frosty Morning” ]

CURWOOD: Our sound portrait: “Leaves and Lives” was produced by Bob Carty.




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