Small Wonders for the Weekend: Pressed Leaves

sidewalk leaves 2

A few years ago, a woman I’d been working with for a few months but hadn’t gotten to know well, opened her Russian-English dictionary to find a word, and out fluttered small, pressed, purple flowers. Pages later there was a fall Japanese Maple leaf tucked near the spine, and pages beyond that, a fern. I commented on them, and she shrugged and told me that all her books were full of petals and leaves. “It’s the best place to keep them.”

leaves in book 2

After that, I made a point of collecting my own leaves and petals, mostly in the fall. How beautiful to open a book, and have a concrete token of the living world float down.

leaves 2

The pressing is easy. Lay the leaves down on a piece of paper, spread out from one another. Place another piece of paper on top; then pile a large stack of books on top of that. Wait a day or two. Done.


All the leaves and petals in these photos were collected in the three city blocks between Mindport and the Bellingham Public Library.  Thanks, everyone, for planting and caring for the street trees.