"Meet Mr. Thoreau"

The Great
Fallen Leaf

Your Own ‘Autumnal Tints'


This assignment will take you back to those carefree years of elementary school, when your biggest worry was coloring rather than SATs. In 1862, two years before he died, Thoreau wrote an essay called "Autumnal Tints." It is considered a classic of nature writing. In it, he describes New England's greatest harvest: the falling of our autumnal leaves. Thoreau tried to capture in words the vivid colors that continue to astound foreign tourists to this area. He expressed a wish that he could have found a way to preserve the leaves so that he might use them as illustrations in the essay.

Your assignment: Collect between 5 and 10 autumn leaves affix them with pride in a book of your making. On the same page, try to "see" the leaf as for the first time and briefly (a paragraph or two) describe it in words. Consider this an exercise in nature-writing. You can choose prose or poetry to express yourself.

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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