The maple leaf stops them. Its veiny palm invites examination, as peach and pale green cross shades. Autumn does this to maple leaves; scorns their attempts to cling onto their tree of birth, strikes them down, flattens their flame. And then, somebody finds the leaf, finds charm in its crown-like edges, its slight resemblance to thorns.
Jumping waves and paddling have to be two of the most liberating activities it is possible to undertake. I was reminded of this truth when my husband and I brought our daughter to the beach in Bonmahon, recently. At 18 months, she was able to begin savouring the experience of sand and sea. Taking a few jaunty steps, she seemed to enjoy the softness under her toes. She has a bit of an obsession with water, so standing at the edge of the sea, waiting for it to rush in and soak her feet, also proved to be very popular. It was heartwarming just to be there, holding her hand, watching her pad along in her characterful walking style. There is something very calming about the way the sea moves with wavy, surf-edged gestures. I think she felt that too.