The leaf showed up at my feet, not by the wind, not by human hands, but almost by magic. My grandpuppy, Ryleigh, dropped it at my feet. 

Ryleigh is constantly flinging her toys at our feet, so at first I wasn't paying attention. But when I saw what she'd left for me, my stomach did a little jittery thing. After all, it's been eleven years. I wonder if Ryleigh knew? Did she sense the magic of fall? Of family? The connection? 

The leaf is from our Autumn Fantasy maple we planted in October of 2005 in honor of my mom who passed away on October 16 of that year. My mother