A FEW weeks ago I announced the inaugural Autumn Leaf Catching Contest, as best I could, using my feeble social networking capacity (by way of a Facebook event and a twitter hashtag: #autumnleafcatching, and on my Sharehood notice-board).
However, as befits a contest of such nostalgic quality, it is gaining momentum by word of mouth, especially in the office tearooms of my friends.
Here’s how it works…
While you’re walking, keep your eye out for falling leaves. When one drifts nearby, try to catch it. That is all. I will say this: autumn leaf catching is both more difficult and more fun than sounds.
The contest continues until the end of the season. If you want, you can post your provisional leaf numbers on twitter (#autumnleafcatching), by commenting on this article or the Facebook event, or by emailing me. Final tallies must be posted on 1 June. Winner gets Official Autumn Leaf Catching Bragging Rights until next autumn.
But don’t feel compelled to keep a record or post a tally. Just notice the season changing, and try to catch a leaf now and then.
Some rule clarification and general advice (in response to queries)
1. Standing around below a tree waiting for leaves to fall is frowned upon for the purposes of the contest, but what the heck: I encourage it whole-heartedly.
2. Contestants shall not saw off branches or cut down trees in order to collect leaves.
3. Although butterfly nets and fitted sheets may greatly increase your yield, their use is not considered within the spirit of the competition. However, if you do employ a sheet as a leaf-catching contraption, please take a photo. I’d like to see it.
4. While there’s no doubt that the momentary kiss of an autumn leaf upon one’s person is an episode of great beauty, it is not a catch. Unless, of course, you’re quick enough to prevent said-leaf’s downward journey. Catchers, here’s the rub: the leaf must not strike the earth. That means, however, that if one gets stuck in your hair or your hood, or flutters into your handbag, it counts.
5. If you feel the need to mail me your leaves, I will gladly use them as compost, but I will not count them. Let your conscience be your guide.
6. Attempting to catch leaves while riding a bike is very dangerous.
Some experiences you can expect
You may find yourself looking around sheepishly to see if anyone just witnessed you fumble at thin air. You may startle a friend by darting to your right, mid-sentence, arms flailing. You may find yourself smiling and cursing, stifling your laugher and shaking your fist to the sky. You may become very excited, or very smug, when you catch your first leaf.
My neighbour Tanya is leading. She’s on eleven. I’m on five, and I’m mad as hell. Let the leaf catching continue!