Fall is my most absolute favorite season hands down. The time of year when the temperature starts to dip and boots, sweaters and scarves break out of the closet. The days get shorter. The smell of fireplaces is in the air. Front porches fill with pumpkins as store shelves fill with candy. And of course, football is in full swing.
I spend hours digging holes for bulbs and mums. Our front porch urns get “Autumned” with mums, grasses, pumpkins and Halloween twinkle lights. Scarecrow takes his rightful place beside the red wagon that hauled our kids and candy loot many Halloweens ago. Now that retired wagon full of pumpkins and mums parked in our garden reminds me how times have changed!
Admiring leaves is another one of my very favorite fall pastimes. Yup, I am the one who pulls off the road to take yet another photo of an amazing sugar maple tree. I am oddly fascinated by trees and their leaves. Long gray winters come to an end the moment tiny bright green leaves show themselves. Soon those leaves are the supporting cast for a multitude of flowers, petals and aromas. As the summer gets into full swing, full grown leaves offer us shade protection so we can picnic, nap and read under their canopy. As fall arrives leaf peepers jump in cars across the USA to witness the leaves grand finale of breathtakingly beautiful colors.
But raking those beauties is not a job for the faint of heart, especially a person like myself who feels they might struggle with a slight case of OCD. I remember the moment well, as it was a Monday. Not just any Monday—it was a winning Monday. In the football world that translates to the Monday after your team wins their game. Everything is easier on a winning Monday. With my free winning cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee in my hand I began the task of collecting the leaves. I was whistling, singing tunes, filling bags and making headway. Before I knew it the sun was beginning to set and a chill was filling the air. As I turned to collect my tools I noticed the front yard I just spent five hours clearing was already freshly coated with a new layer of leaves.
As I caught myself frantically picking up the freshly fallen leaves one by one it dawned on me. I’ve been here before, sort of. This was so reminiscent of so many other times in my life. I was transported back to those days when my children were young and I attempted to keep our home clean. Or how there was always one more load of laundry, a room to clean or homework assignment to help complete. I stood up in my driveway, stepped away from the leaves and determined there are always going to be days when there will be more leaves to place in your bucket.
It’s those times you need to find perspective and unfortunately I did not need to look too far. Just a couple of weeks ago my neighborhood friend passed away from Brain Cancer. As I sat at his beautiful service amongst his family and friends it was very clear he left this life too soon. He was a kind-hearted, unselfish and happy person. His story was a woeful reminder that any minute our lives can change and we should do our very best to live each day to it’s fullest potential.
So, I am taking a page from my friend and a leaf. I will brighten this world by showing up and being present. I shall support and protect those who live amongst me. I will attempt each day to grow to be my best self.
Moral: When it’s my time to “leave,” may there be a few memories of myself worthy of collecting.
A little thing I got my daughter to do for me: If you know anything about me, it’s my love of words. They don every wall, room and mantle in our home. Heck, even our driveway at times has chalked words all over it. This time of year the pumpkins get in on the action too!