Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn leaf

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.


  1. Fun memories. I can remember revisiting leaf-piling and jumping when my kids were little. I may just visit again.. without them. Thanks for the autumn smiles. :)

  2. For us Joneses, city-dwellers as we are, Leaf-Raking Day is one of our grand family traditions. Heck, our grown kids will call to make sure they don't miss it (I think they're just after the hot cocoa, but hey, it gets the leaves raked. . .)

    And somewhere in our archives are a bunch of photos of various of our kids being tossed into the leaf-pile, either by their parents, or, more recently, their older siblings. . .

    ('Course, when the leaf-pile-tossing is finished, we bag the leaves up and take 'em to the curb; no cat-business allowed. . .)

    Good story, Michelle. . .

  3. I am such an autumn person myself. Love the crisp air, the beautiful colors, the sports (World Series! Football!), the excellent treats like pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving, Halloween... Great season, and you wrote a great tale about it.

  4. We're lucky to find a pile of leaves dry enough to scuffle through - good old English rain puts paid to them soon, as often as not. But the resultant skeletons left on pavements have their own charm...

  5. I could just see that little girl with a rake probably taller than she, gathering leaves into a mound, a smile on her face at the prospect of landing on the middle of it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story told so well, as usual.

  6. I had the good fortune of being able to jump into leaf piles which had been raked by my Grandfather. All the fun, with none of the work!!

    Thanks for the memories.

  7. Hilary: You're never too young to jump in a pile of leaves. Go for it!

    Desmond: You made it into a family tradition? So cool!

    Suldog: Don't forget hockey as the start of a Fall sport too! I sure won't...

    Jinksy: Just admiring the leaves and their symbolism, cast-offs giving nutrients to the soil to start a richer life anew to the grass, can be seen as beautiful too.

    Judith: Not only the leaves had that special charm, but also the rake. It was a metal one with those tines that no longer hooked together, so it made a type of metal, tingy, sound whenever striking each other. Autumn music...

    Buckskins: You had a shortcut, and enjoyed an actvity with a loved one. No sweeter thing than that.

  8. Ah, I miss the fall. Loved jumping in the piles of leaves every year. We'd play football, and getting tackled in the leaves made it all the better.


  9. what a very lovely remembrance. so glad you shared it.

  10. Knucklehead: The things we would do if we were kids again. But at least we have wonderful memories of those times.

    Lime: Thanks!


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