Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Glory of Autumn and All Those Leaves

I read that our autumn colours are going to be disappointing this year because of the weather patterns. What they should have said was that there may not be the usual vivid, jewel toned panorama that takes your breath away, but the glory of autumn can be found in smaller doses, as long as you open your eyes to it.

For me, autumn is one young sugar maple tree; barely twenty feet tall in my yard. That one tree will turn an amazing rainbow of colours for me. It will make me wonder yet again how a green tree can turn so many different shades of red, peach, gold and orange.

Then one leaf will fall, and my attitude will change. Two leaves and my muscles shake. Three and the bottle of Advil rolls towards me. A heady gust of wind comes and just like that, the trees are nearly naked and my rake is banging itself against the shed door, dying to come out and play. This must be why autumn is also called fall. This is where the glory of autumn ends for me.

After waiting as long as I possibly can to put off this chore, I make it out to the shed. The door creaks eerily as I open it. My hair blows around my face as the wind kicks up again. I turn and watch more leaves fall. I look back at my rake and cringe. It growls at me, hungry for exercise. I put on my gloves. The rake jumps up in anticipation, shaking off the cobwebs of a quiet month or two.

I look at the wooden handle, so eager to be in my hands. “Now listen,” I sternly tell my rake. “I’ve got only so much muscle power, patience and skin thickness on my hands. As soon as I reach the end of my play list on my MP3 player, you’re going back in the shed, got it?” The rake jumps into my hand in acquiescence of my rules. I plug in my earphones, press play and let the rake drag me unwillingly to the back yard.

When looking at an expanse of lawn the size of ours, with the gorgeous trees dropping thousands of leaves, I feel helpless. Where do I start? Should I do a pattern? A bunch of small piles? Is that my phone ringing? Is someone here? Maybe I’d better go check. The rake begs to differ and digs its tines into the dirt. Fine.

I plough ahead and groove to the tunes plugged into my ears. I make it fun, dancing as I rake for what seems like days, and only when my arms scream for a break do I stop. I am proud. My pile is huge. I turn around and realize I’ve barely started. I sigh. The wind blows. The leaves fall again. My pile scatters and the rake laughs. I’m done for now, because tomorrow I have to go buy a new rake.