When I walk in the autumn, I pick up a fallen leaf and hold it for the duration, as talisman, security blanket, reminder of beauty, colour, texture, life. Today I picked up one of the maple leaves that face-plant when they fall, their stems pointing back from where they came like a wren’s perky tail. I’ve done a cursory Google search and it’s likely an Autumn Blaze, a type of Freeman Maple, but I’m not certain. Alas, I am resisting this rabbit hole, as I’ve got others to disappear into this morning. At noon my writing group is meeting on Zoom, and I’ll be sharing a new exercise I’ve created for my upcoming series of writing workshops. In the meantime, this leaf will sit on the desk beside me, and I will set my hand upon it, its five red lobes like fingers against mine, a Covid-safe handshake. Like most people in the world right now, I miss handshakes, hugs, closeness beyond my very small bubble. This leaf feels like my grandmother’s hand. No wonder I can’t stop holding it.