The sun’s rays offered a great warmth to my cheek as I began my walk along frog leg creek. It had been many years since I eased my feet along the path I had run along so swiftly as a boy. The water in the creek churned up a froth as it swirled over the rocks aiming its strength at forcing the water south ward. A large brown leaf fell with a thump upon my head. Perhaps it wasn’t quite a thump, more like quick poke.
As I picked it up and examined its stem and structure, upon it’s smooth surface my mind glided back to childhood. I was watching a young boy wearing a blue jacket, pumpkin shirt and blue britches, swinging a rake above his head. A voice rang through my head saying, “the leaves are already on the ground, you don’t have to knock more from the trees.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I said as I returned to my task of making the largest pile of leaves in the history of our neighborhood . Beneath that oak tree that must have seen the passing of Sherman as he prepared to burn Atlanta, the leaves seemed to gather a endless volume that enveloped my afternoons as I worked to collect them.
The only advantage to the adventure was the opportunity to take a running jump and land in the midst of the pile, of course, once again sending the leaves flying through the air spreading them across that section of the yard again.
It was worth it though, the freedom of flight and the softness of the landing in a way made all the hours of raking and piling worthwhile. Of course, there would usually be a small payment at the end from my neighbors who owned the big tree. I think I got 10 dollars.
I forget how many bags of leaves the tree usually produced but I remember once stretching enough bags across the yard to paint “Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas” using one bag for each letter and still having that many again.
Sadly, my desire to delve into raking duties waned after my body weight exceeded a satisfactory soft landing in the pile.
By then the falling of the leaves brought more dread than enthusiasm.
Although I never lost my admiration for that tree or looking at the fall colors as they turn. But when I moved into my latest home, it did not have trees with leaves . Evergreens is all that I have planted and if I keep it that way, I will never miss raking another leaf.
They are beautiful when they are someone else’s or simply bringing beauty to the countryside.
As I walked away I looked at the trees thinking how beautiful they are. I was wishing there was a big pile in which I could jump but glad to know it was not my job to rake them.