Rediscovering the Glories of Fall
There is a dog that lives in my house. I put it this way as the creature in question is not actually mine, it belongs, instead, to she who is my roommate, and who is, not coincidentally, my sister.
Over the last few months, my sister has been sick. A weekend in the hospital sick, not “I’m thinking I don’t want to go to work tomorrow because the thought of work makes me sick” sick.
This means I have inherited responsibility for the dog that lives in my house, because, if I didn’t, my house would become one of the places you see on TV where the house has been taken over by mistreated animals and the only solution is to nuke the place from orbit.
This has involved regular excursions into my neighborhood, which the dog thinks are hunting expeditions. We are looking for the most exquisite of delicacies, the pinnacle of culinary delights; that treat that makes life worth living; the Truffle of Merde de Chat. These magical nuggets of ecstasy, made by any number of local felines, have been left in unexpected and secret places all along the route.
Naturally, while not every expedition yields these greatest treasures, Tess will not say no to almost any “truffle” she might find. Goose is a close second to cat. While not as desirable as the truffles, she will not turn down any lightly rotted fruit, gently fallen from a tree, or any carelessly discarded bit of something in a fast-food wrapper. If it smells edible, well, of course it IS edible.
For me, the culinary adventure, which involves taking the object of her triumph away from her whenever possible, does not have much appeal. Very little about the walk holds much for me, especially as the weather takes a turn for the arctic.
And yet, I am grateful for being able to reconnect with one of my favorite seasonal pastimes – crunching fallen leaves. I somehow had forgotten the satisfying snap of a tightly curled leaf under your foot, or the glory of rivers of leaves mounded in gutters and heaped along lawn edges. With every trip, I started to annoy the dog by lagging behind, trying to stomp on a pristine pile of perfectly shriveled maple leaves.
As I find myself erratically hopping from one tantalizing leaf to another, seeking another “hit” on the leaf pipe, trying to find the ultimate crunch. There’s something immensely satisfying in a resounding crackle, and the sight of the resulting pulverized leaf powder.
Tess is starting to suspect there might be something wrong with me. Usually, I take the shortest route possible, and find reasons to postpone the inevitable as long as possible. She probably is still very confused by my running leap into a large pile of leaves mounded up in the park. I can’t say I blame her. I’m not entirely sure I know what to make of it either. I do know that I’m starting to dread the end of Fall. Maybe I can hoard some leaves in the garage for special occasions. I can stop crunching anytime.
Maybe it’s just better I let myself forget about the leaves.
Kate Barnes - award-winning writer, blogger and thinker of thoughts - lives in Denver. By day she works for the Colorado Community College System, and by dark she sits in the glow of the computer screen creating websites, words, and grand schemes. She welcomes your comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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