Life is like a pile of leaves

Look out, Forrest Gump.  Life may be like a box of chocolates to you, but ‘round these parts when fall is in full swing, I’d like to argue that life is like a pile of leaves.
And Shakespeare might debate whether to be or not to be, but when it comes to that pile of leaves, we might argue to rake or not to rake.  That is the question in late October.
The glorious colors that light up our autumnal days with trees of bright reds and yellows eventually lose their ability to hang on and fall ever so gracefully to their final demise wherever the wind may take them.  And by wherever the wind may take them, I mean all over your lawn.  At this point in the season, we have a few options.  We can rake them ourselves, hire someone, invest in a leaf blower so the job goes more swiftly but annoys the neighbors with the loud noise, grind them up with a lawnmower, or just leave them be.
According to the experts, the option is up to you.  Some say that you should mulch them with a lawnmower and add delicious nutrients to your lawn.  The process of leaves decomposing is like dumping bottles of vitamins all over the ground.  Look at the dark, rich soil on the forest floor.   Others, however, say that you need to remove the leaves so that they don’t rot and suffocate out the grass below, especially if your grass has not yet gone dormant for the season.  And still other don’t really care about their lawn, but use the actual act of raking to beef up their muscles or punish their children.
Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle.  On one hand, I appreciate the natural cycle involved with returning the nutrients of the leaves to the Earth.  There’s a large part of me that knows that messing with Mother Nature is never the best way to go.  But the rest of me can’t go through autumn without a bright day of good old-fashioned leaf fun.
And so starts the annual progression.
It starts with rakes of many sizes for all sizes of children involved.  (And yes, I include myself in that category.)  After only a few minutes, someone has tired arms and someone else wants some apple cider.  Pressing on, there are intermittent leaf fights and any small piles we may have formed are destroyed by the dog.
By this time, it’s lunch, and we all eat steamy soup on the back porch.  And while we eat, we hear the roar of the leaf blower starting up, meaning that dad has had just about enough of our autumnal shenanigans, and before we know it, there’s a huge pile of leaves waiting for the “one, two, three…jump!” 
But when it comes to leaf blowing, anything goes.  Anything, and everything.  Every small toy that was hiding under cover.  Every small stick with the point as sharp as a needle.  Every bit of physical evidence in the yard that we own a dog.  It’s all whirled up in the tornado of beautiful, inviting leaves and piled and ready for you to jump, too.
The safe side of you knows that diving headfirst isn’t the smartest thing, that there’s a good chance that you’ll get poked by a stick or nosedive into something rather stinky.  You could whack your head on a missing yard tool, and there’s a 100% chance that leaf litter will stick in your socks and hair and everywhere else.
But the rest of you ignores all of that and before you know it there’s less “pile” and more “kid” and less “worry” and more “smile” and you realize that life is like a pile of leaves.  You never know what you’re going to hit.
But you jump anyway.


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