Autumn or Fall. I didn’t care which name a person used for this season. It was the one season I loved most during my childhood.
It was the season where I didn’t have any chores.
Or at least I didn’t have as many. By this time, we had planted all of the vegetables and harvested them from the fields. We no longer had to mow the grass since the ground was too soft to support the large, heavy tractor tires. I had weaned those young calves from their milk buckets and they could now eat grass and hay like the rest of the cows.
Still, we had a few things that always needed done: feeding the pets and livestock as well as gathering the chicken eggs. But during the colder months, it felt like a vacation from some of the more strenuous chores.
I am about to gloat here, people! I never had two chores to do, although I’ve seen many people in the suburbs and city do them. I didn’t have to do the winter chore of shoveling snow. Why should I shovel around all that snow when we had a farm tractor to do it? With the plow hooked on the front, my father performed this task in fear we would get the tractor stuck in a snow drift. As for the second chore, I didn’t have to rake leaves in the Fall.
Can you imagine trying to rake leaves on 5.6 acres of property? It would take so much time that I would still be raking during spring thaw. Besides, leaves are good mulch for the lawn.
So . . . why am I writing this story? Because I still raked leaves . . .
First though, I tried to catch them. To get me outside to play, my mother once told me if a person caught the falling Autumn leaves, they could make a wish come true. This thinking was a little like blowing out a candle on a birthday cake but it didn’t involve open flame and the possible third-degree burns.
So, of course, I went traipsing outside while running my little legs ragged. In early Fall, I found the task challenging since so few branches would shed their colorful canopies. By the middle of the season, the novelty of leaf-catching waned when showers of the dead castoffs covered my head. This became the time when I broke out the rake.
I didn’t do the whole 5.6 acres. I didn’t even do just the backyard by the house. I did this little side section where I collected just enough to make a big pile.
Then I jumped into it.
Leaf jumping. It is such a whimsical, Autumn thing for a kid to do. I listened to the crackles of red, yellow, and brown leaves around my body. I made leaf angels on the cool grass. I burrowed like a gopher underneath and stayed quiet as a cat would trot through the hedgerow headed for the shed. Then I jumped out, roaring, scaring the crap out of it as the cat dashed off with heart thumping.
Of course, the cats always got even with me for pulling this prank.
I only risked leaf-jumping in the same pile for two days. After that, the leaves belonged to the cats since all this available cover made a fine place to do a little cat business. When I saw the shiny stickiness and smelled the ripe odor of bodily functions, I left their litter box alone.
I placed the rake back into the shed. Then I headed inside the house for a cup of hot chocolate, ready for winter.