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Leaf piles tempt the inner child

Unlike many people, one of my fondest childhood memories of fall is jumping, without caution, into a large pile of leaves.

We didn’t stop to think what else could be in the pile, like sharp branches or critters. We didn’t care. We were kids. We did things just because they were fun and most of us, managed to survive unscathed – minus a scrape or two.

Remaining a forever child at heart is one of my goals in life. Oh, I slip into adulthood every so often and let the woes of the world darken my spirit but I know deep down inside, the child is still there.

And the city of Oxford likes to test my inner child.

Thanks to leaf trucks, the city asks that people simply pile up their leaves on the side of the road after they rake their yards. And every year, I have to wrestle with myself not to step on the gas and drive through those piles.

It would be fun! I can’t really “jump” into piles of leaves anymore. I can maybe slowly plop down and then make sure someone is around to help me up. Each fall, I look at those huge piles on the side of the road and giggle and for a brief second, consider seeing how many I could hit. But alas, the grownup in me wins over each year and I pass by leaving the piles undisturbed.

I can’t promise that will always happen. The urge to do crazy, innocent-enough things grows stronger as I grow older.

At some point in my life, many years ago, I read that as long as you can still see the “Man in the Moon” when gazing up at the night sky, your heart remains young. No idea where I read it or heard it, but I’ve kept that with me throughout my life.

Sadly, I’ve met many, including a couple of my own children who can’t find the Man in the Moon. To me, his face is clear as day whenever there’s a full or almost full moon. I have shown him to my grandchildren and I have high hopes they will never forget him.

When I was a young mother, I was so busy working and dealing with three small children that my inner child went very quiet for a long time. Like many, as I get older, I’ve realized how very fast time flies. I think people who are having a “mid-life crisis,” are simply just trying to find the “Man in the Moon” again.

The holidays are here and there’s no better time to let our inner child out to play.

We can’t stop growing older, but we can stop ourselves from growing old.