don’t forget to breathe

09.2014 leaf1

I love trees, and bought the property in no small part because of the maples, pines and a tulip tree. I don’t love the willow tree, or the fact that the two pretty maples in our front yard succumbed to the autumnal pressure to turn color early, and that a driving rain last night subsequently stripped them bare.

I actually laughed as I pulled into the driveway after work tonight. My house is the lone house on the block that is literally covered in red and orange leaves. Every other property has immaculate green lawns, and my house looks like those cartoons with one thundercloud hovering over a single person while everyone around them is in bright sunshine. With leaves instead of rain. You know.

Miss L was a ferocious raker this weekend, and I was really impressed by her work ethic, but her primary goal was to get a big enough pile to jump into, and then joyfully throw armfuls of the leaves around, thus undoing all the work she had done. It was sort of an infectious glee, though, and she looked like Linus in that Snoopy cartoon, jumping into a pile of leaves.

So, as well as feeling a little guilty that my yard looks so disheveled compared to everyone else’s, I remembered that soon the Snow Hag next door will return from her summer travels and start flinging things over the lot line – handfuls of leaves she claims are from my trees, branches, general yard waste – I might as well get a head start on her. So tonight I put on headphones and Alexi Murdoch sang ‘don’t forget to breathe’, his glum voice underscoring the comforting, repetitive action of the rake moving across the grass and the changed quality of light now that the trees are bare – the thin, watery evening fading, the dark clouds piling up overhead.  I haven’t raked in a long time, noticing the colors – the dark reds and veined yellow and oranges and the occasional lime green streak – smelling that damp, dark odor of earth. When I was done my brain felt clean and empty and I wandered through the back, gathering up the last few decent Paul Robeson tomatoes and stowing them in my pockets, idly making note of how productive they’d been this year.

09.2014 leaf2


Emmett and Sarge pressed their faces up against the window and meowed against the glass, wondering when I’d be in for dinner. Then I stood around like a dork in the pretty evening, and took pictures, and I’m sure the neighbors more than ever wonder what the hell is going on over here, and I couldn’t care less.



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