I didn’t grow up in areas with 4 seasons. When I encountered a real autumn for the first time, I was awed – awed in every sense of the word. I couldn’t fathom that such a spectacle occurred every year and yet people just went about their business as if nothing was out of the ordinary. Nor could I understand how so many commented only to complain about leaf removal.
In North Carolina, we did have some deciduous trees – not many – and I’d collect leaves, make a glue of flour and water, and glob them onto my dresser mirror. When I moved here and experienced the glory of deciduous forests at their peak, those puny leaves I used to attach to my mirror seemed ridiculous.
While I’m still awed, and sometimes rendered speechless, I do go about my life as if nothing extraordinary is happening. After several decades of deciduous trees in abundance, I also complain about leaf removal. It appears I’ve become complacent.
But not too much.
After several weeks of the dogs tracking leaves in the house, I finally got my butt out there with a broom and a rake. After years of this, I know better than to begin the process before all the leaves have fallen.
The idea was to at least clear the patio. Designing one’s garden with a sunken patio near mature oaks creates autumnal challenges. It’s easy to lose a small dog out there. Moreover, the condition of my gutters would make at least one person I know weep.
It was daunting. It is daunting.
For several hours, I have maneuvered around patio furniture, the heat pump, small dogs, flower pots, dog toys, retaining walls, and the hot tub trying to bring order out of chaos. The task is made more daunting in that I don’t remove the leaves; I chop them up with the lawn mower and leave them lie to improve my pitiful soil. Three small dogs of a mind to help add an additional layer of difficulty.
But the truth is, I can’t bring myself to just attend to the task. I have to play in them. I’m still susceptible to the joy of jumping in a great pile of leaves and immediately being pounced upon by the dogs. The four of us romped, made leaf angels, and pretty much made a bigger mess than I started with. Towards the end of Romper Room with Leaves, the cat joined in. Indian Summer made it all that much more fun. The temperature is positively tropical out there.
The patio is clear, more or less. I haven’t gotten the lawn mower out yet so there are still great heaps of leaves about the yard. One brisk wind and they’re all going to end up back on the patio. I’m trying to summon the discipline to get out the lawn mower and finish – or at least make a serious dent in the project. But I don’t know, those piles of leaves look like they need some more playing in.
I was just lamenting that I have too many projects going on and too little time. In my hurry-hurry life, it speaks well, I think, that I can still find time to play in the leaves. As long as I can still find time to play and marvel, life will be good – is good.