AS ONE WITH THE LEAVES
Every year it’s the same old story: the leaves come a-tumbling down. Every year there is a carpet of dead leaves on my lawn but they will not stay, oh no. At the whim of the autumn wind they will sail off to a neighbors yard and that same wind will move a fresh supply in from the place behind us. Nature deplores a vacuum or, it seems, a lawn uncarpeted by dry leaves.
The beauty of the autumn leaves cannot be denied. This season is probably the prettiest of the year, at least for the time the leaves still desperately cling to the trees. As they inevitably come down they take their beauty with them and spread it out across lawns and sidewalks and they are not quite as lovely then, not quite.
Each year I vow will be the last for I will have a tractor with a mulcher next season and I will drive back and forth over them lost in the hum of the engine happily turning big leaves into tiny pieces even as I bask in the glow of the autumn sun. Ah, life will truly be good. My guess is it won’t happen.
Every autumn I go forth to rake and even as my mind wanders over tractor models it drifts as well into familiar corners labelled tradition, custom, memories. Soon those thoughts wheel the tractor out of the picture and I think this is how it must be, this is the completion of a season and it must not be ignored. The leaves have done their work and it is time to give them a fitting farewell as we have done for so many years past. My kidhood, that of our children and now grandchildren is marked by the autumn custom of leaf raking, of jumping into huge leaf piles, of listening to the crackle and crunch of them underfoot. It is as it should be, I think, and I will rake until I’ve finished or at least come close. I will say without doubt to anyone who asks that next year, next year it will be different and I will rule the leaves with my tractor. Deep down, though, I know I won’t.