Steve Meador is the author of Throwing Percy from the Cherry Tree, a poetry book that was an entrant for a National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He is widely published in online and print journals. He has been a real estate broker since the early 1980s and currently lives and practices in the Tampa, FL, area.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What do you see in this photograph I took in 1976? Take a minute before reading and give it some thought, then read about what I see.

To some it was simply a roll of wax paper that had miraculously plopped out of a brown paper grocery bag--or maybe it even jumped out, knowing its fate was to cover casseroles, stews, beets, beans and whatnot--and then bounced out of the back of some beat-up, rusted-out pickup truck on the ride home from the market. Perhaps the roll was hoping to be unwound, detached from its cardboard core and given a glimmer of chance to live, an opportunity to be lifted by a rogue gust, carried above the treetops to float to the place where wax paper is free. Then, the girls happened, and to them everything, through youthful naiveté, deserved a chance. So they picked up the unopened box and collected bunches of sweet fall leaves in reds, yellows, browns, some speckled, still, with summer green. They introduced the leaves to the wax paper, via their mother’s hot iron. The girls tacked many of the shiny leaves on their bedroom wall, so they could enjoy the wonder of the trees throughout winter. Others were sold for a penny a piece. The money converted to Mallo Cups at the candy counter. The leaves breathed relief, their self-destruction put on permanent hold, but the wax paper, with its soul transferred, was not just happy, it was ecstatic.

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