If the cool crispness in the breeze wasn’t enough to announce fall, the brilliant, orange, red and yellow leaves fluttering down and nudging against my head and shoulders as they joined the carpet already covering my lawn made a definite visual statement.
Fall. I don’t mind fall, except for the clean up. it’s what comes after that sends me into a tailspin. The gray, bare tree branches clicking and clacking against each other in a type of sword fight heralding the beginning of what I’ve always called ‘the dead’ season. Winter.
I pulled my hands from the pockets of my hooded sweatshirt and picked up the lawn rake again. I don’t know why I bothered to rake at all until that one last hanger on fluttered to the ground. I guess I didn’t want the neighbors to think I was lazy, the last on the block to clean up the leaves.
Some butterfly like leaves filled in the spot I had just cleared off. Waste, waste of time. I looked around to see if any other homeowner was checking up on my progress. A stiff wave of wind blew down the street and I stared at the results to the leaves along the curb. The whirling and twirling shuffled the colorful mass away from my curb and down toward the neighbor’s driveway. I observed the action several times then with a frenzied glance up and down the street, I took the rake and scooted big sections of my leaf pile out into the street. With hurried actions I soon had the whole pile in the street and my grass was clear. The wind stopped.
Caught. I was caught, and I felt like a kid who had been caught TP’ing a neighbor’s fence. “Come on, come on, come on,” I called to the wind under my breath. “Please!” A small twisting breeze began near the curb but stopped. I spied the empty street and slowly lifted the many leaves like someone shoveling snow and directed them on down the street. Soon my lawn and curb was leafless.
I leaned on the rake and held my head up with self-satisfaction. I turned with a spark in my step and headed for the house. Good idea. No wasting time bagging all those leaves. Let the wind take them. I looked at the pile making a small mountain along my neighbor’s curb and in his front yard. I felt guilty. The guilt didn’t linger and I put the rake away and went inside. I fixed lunch and enjoyed the rest of my day off.
Toward evening, neighbors started to return home from work. I went out to get the mail I had forgotten as neighbor Dan started to pull into his driveway. He stopped, half exited the car and looked at the piles of leaves. He then glanced to my almost spotless lawn. He pulled on into the drive and got out.
I waved. “Fall is here.” I smiled a guiltless smile as the wind, on cue, picked up more leaves from the curb and shoved them toward Dan. He observed my leaf free lawn again.
“The wind seems to have helped you out today.” Dan put his hands on his hips.
“God directs the wind, not me.” I smiled sweetly and waved again before going inside. I had a good dinner, relaxed and went to bed at eleven.
Next morning I awoke and cheerfully went out to get the newspaper. Something was wrong. I couldn’t see the paper for the carpet of leaves covering my lawn. Overnight? No way could that many leaves fall overnight. I stooped over and shuffled through the leaves trying to find the paper.
“Beautiful fall day.” Dan’s voice rang out as he picked up his paper from his leaf free lawn.
I stood up. “What happened here?”
“What?” Dan had a smug smile then nodded on the way back to his porch. “Oh, the leaves. I guess God changed the direction of the wind.”
Served me right.