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Fall Leaves Fall
One by one...
When Samuel decided to go outside to rake the leaves for the first time that late Fall morning, he was perplexed by the lack of leaves on the ground. Even he noted there was nothing to rake this late in the season.
And then, five days into December, the first burnt orange maple leaf dropped to the ground, but only one at first.
For the next hour, dozens followed in the footsteps of that lone leaf, as if that first leaf gave all others tacit permission to fall.
By noon, a quarter of the tree had shed its leaves, but Samuel was cooped up in the house working. He watched out his office window as the leaves passed by, blanketing the ground. He wished he could be out there getting to the task at hand, but that just wasn’t possible. With the view now unobstructed because of the bare trees, Samuel could see the telephone lines behind the house now, something he hadn’t been able to do for months.
For 28 days straight, the leaves fell and fell and fell and fell, not just from the maple but from the spruce and oak trees nearby. It wasn’t supposed to happen like that, but given the prolonged Summer heat, the leaves had no chance to fall off. They got their fair share of rain throughout the Summer, but the weather hadn’t cooled down even into November.
When Samuel finally made it outside at the beginning of the year, he was like a kid twirling around on a snowy day, trying to catch a snowflake on his tongue. This time the colorful leaves were the snowflakes and he would mostly catch them with his hands, crunching them to bits and then scooping up another handful of dry leaves and tossed a handful into the air.
He had been waiting for this day for a long time.
While the beauty captivated him, he was outside to do one thing: rake them all. Up until now, he hadn’t considered the work, forgetting how much time and energy it took him in previous years.
A month ago, the task wasn’t difficult at all with nothing on the ground. Now, though, the task was that much harder.
In the North, he’d be shoveling snow at freezing temperatures.
But back in this part of Texas, he wore a long sleeve shirt and broke into a sweat as he raked all the leaves into piles. And with leaves there was no chance to slip on ice or snow and break something. There was the occasional snake to contend with after experiencing a mild heart attack from being startled, but at least he wouldn’t slip on the ice.
He would take sweaty leave raking to snow shoveling or ice chipping any day of the week. This was Samuel’s new normal.