Sidewalk Nature: Leaf Prints

Tannin contact print
Tannin contact print

November 4th.

Fall is falling fast and I need to grab on to it——to find an edge, a finger-hold——before it’s gone. Sometimes, grabbing just means paying attention.
Example? Random leaf prints on concrete. Nature’s monoprints are right there under my feet on the way to the car, to school, to nearly everywhere.

The best ones are on new concrete, with a porous top layer still pale and thick enough to suck up pigment. Add rain. Add a leaf stuck to wet concrete overnight. Art. Accidental eco-prints. The leaf tannin transfers itself to the sidewalk, pulled by gravity and wetness.

Tannin is what’s in our English tea and our dry wine and our Nashville acorns. It tans animal skin: takes it from stiff hide to soft leather.

And it stains sidewalks with signs of fall.