While we’re still enjoying the gorgeous array of colors in the trees, we’re also beginning to see the first of the fallen leaves accumulating on the ground. I’m old enough to have lived in more than one neighborhood where people were frantic to rake them up as soon as they dropped. I’m also old enough to have lived through more than one autumn when the lion’s share of leaves spent the winter right where they landed in November, mostly because there just weren’t enough days in the week… but maybe, just maybe, also because I love a giant pile of leaves. even buried beneath the snow.
Think back a bit. When you see the leaves piling up, do you think of that very specific sound, that unmistakeable crunch, as you tramp through them? Do you remember to appreciate all of the very distinct shapes, the oak, the maples, the birches, and the array of brown, red, orange, and yellow? Do you notice the crisp smell the air has when the leaves are down, or how the light plays on the leaves (up or down) at the end of the day? Do you see the unmitigated joy on your toddlers’ faces as they make and then plow through pile after pile? I do, and I hope I always will. I like tidiness and order in my life as much as anyone, but I also thrive on that whimsy, that hint of chaos, that follows when Nature is at her best and is allowed to do just as she pleases.
Every autumn, the fallen leaves take me back to the truly inimitable Leo Buscaglia. This beautiful excerpt is from one of Dr. Buscaglia’s presentations on PBS, and it has to do with those autumn leaves. The remarks were delivered a few decades ago, but they hold up incredibly well. And in these times, when we are constantly barraged with bad news (true or otherwise), I’m thinking that the world could use a good dose of Leo now. I’ll leave you to it.