Autumn: a time for reflection and raking leaves

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It’s that time again when the leaves change color and fall to earth.  Once on the ground they lay there, making little piles.  Sometimes a wind arrives and blows them around the yard.  I love this time of year.    I’ll be honest,  I don’t like the heat and humidity of Summer, but I love Autumn.

When you have over an acre of yard you have a lot of leaves to rake.  While we don’t cut our own grass, we do rake leaves.  I love raking leaves.  It’s similar to pulling up weeds in that it’s a repetitive process that rids the yard of something you don’t need. Unlike pulling weeds, once the leaves are gone they don’t come back.

My husband and I argue about leaf pickup.  I like to rake, he does not. He likes to fill up the bags all the way up to the top, I like to roll them down.  I view raking as a zen-like activity. When I move into the zone it’s exhilarating.  For my darling spouse it’s a job to get past.  Our compromise is that I rake and and he bags.  It works best when we do our jobs separately and aren’t around to tell the other how to do their part better.

I love the change of seasons, watching mother nature move through the endless pattern of birth and rebirth.  When winter comes it’s tempting to view this time as the end of life as we know it.  Many years ago I  returned to the U.S. after  living for a time in Africa.  I thought I would never feel warm again.  I was convinced I had arrived in a frozen wasteland with nothing positive to offer.  It was December and I had not experienced cold temperatures for two years.  Most days it was over 100 and the sun was always shining.

But you adjust, because you have to.  Despite what we say to ourselves, we mostly choose where and how to live.  We have to have something to complain about and the weather is convenient.   There are few places in the world where the weather is perfect every day.  I’m sure that Hawaii comes in at the top of the list, and I hear that San Diego is nice.   Southern France  and Italy probably also make the list.  Aside from these places and a few more, we learn to cherish those few perfect days alongside the rest.

I love the change of seasons because it provides a rhythm to life.  September means the reappearance of school buses, and November brings Thanksgiving.  January starts a new year with resolutions, and April brings the rain that leads to a new growing season.    July is the month we celebrate our country’s independence day.  The seasons are how we count the years and how we measure the milestones of our lives.  It’s one reason why I live in the country, where the spectacle of seasonal change is all around.

So, as I sit at my kitchen table I watch the wind blowing through the branches of an Oak tree. It hasn’t dropped all its leaves yet, that rustle and glisten in the sun. I still have work to do in the back yard.  A few more weeks and fall cleanup will be complete. Then I get a break until spring, when new trees will replace the dead ones, and I can plant my vegetables.  This physical connection to the earth reminds me that despite our efforts to overpower the elements, we remain in the thrall of the weather.    Did I tell you I love snow?

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