My children are in the backseat playing with two stuffed animals, fully animated with deep voices for men and high pitched for women, laughing with complete abandon. There isn't a single hint of worry or sorrow yet on their smooth young faces.
We turn left and find Autumn in the parking lot of a church. The trees are bursting with yellows and oranges and a crunchy wave of color falls onto my windshield when the prairie wind blows just right.
My kids look out the windshield and squeal that it looks like a princess's house. This church is made of red brick, like the red brick castles and churches in Poland. Perhaps that's what my older daughter is remembering.
Jarzębina trees are sporting their signature red berries along the walls of the church.
To my children, they're just pretty. But...
"My Babcia's family on my mother's side had a tree like this next to their front door for good luck. You can take the berries and put them on string with a needle and when they dry, you can wear it like a necklace for fun. When I was little, there was a Jarzębina tree that grew near our apartment building and my Mommy, brother and I used to pick the berries for necklaces. But you can't eat the berries unless you cook them carefully, because they are poisonous. Maybe you can find the fairies that live in this tree."
In a fairy book we own, there is a poem about the Jarzębina.
There is also a musical group called Jarzębina, in case you might remember them.
My little ones run around the Jarzębina, at first peering up into the branches, trying to spot a fairy or two, that might be hiding among the red berries. After a few minutes, they revert to the timeless childhood game of "You Can't Catch Me!", holding with delicate hands onto the bark of the tree as they spin around under the Autumn Tree.
Leaves fall down around us, the sky is blue above. The air cool on rose petal cheeks.