"…the trees don’t die, they just pretend, go out in style, and return in style: a new style."*

Black marker and colored pencil, drawn on the back of an appointment reminder from my doctor.  (If you look closely, you can see the map with directions to the clinic showing through.) For some reason, I’ve never been good at keeping a sketchbook, but often use scrap paper, the envelopes from junk mail, etc.

Found this hastily-drawn sketch buried under piles of papers around my computer; had forgotten about it.  It’s from last autumn, and the subject may need some explanation.

In late October –it must have been the afternoon of Halloween, blue skies, puffy white clouds, golden autumn leaves all around– I was driving home from somewhere, when something caught my eye.  I glanced over, and jumped when I saw what seemed to be a couple of small ghouls.

You know, just raking the leaves in a front yard, like suburban ghouls do.

It was only after I’d passed by that the scenario arranged itself in my imagination:

“Now, before dinner, and before trick-or-treating, I want you two to get those leaves raked.”


“I mean it — now get to it.”

“Can we wear our costumes while we do it?”

(Pause.) “Well, not the whole thing.  You can wear your masks.”


I’m glad I found this little sketch.  Seems appropriate for the first weekend of fall. 

Don’t know how these kids will disguise themselves this Halloween — I can’t even quite remember where I saw them  — but for one instant, this is what they were.

*From the poem “Leaves” by Lloyd Schwartz


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