A Day of Reckoning in Autumnal Sunshine

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” ― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

I write this knowing what awaits me. Today is the day of reckoning for a lover of trees. For in late October we turn our eyes from the skies to the work at hand, and sweat and toil to relocate those countless, blessed fallen leaves from the yard and place them with their kin in the woods. This process will repeat itself several times before it’s done, and this writer will bow to the trees in the order of their fall; the maple and elm, hickory and oak, even the pine sheds itself of old needles. Autumn is called fall for a reason, after all, so fall they must.

My secret is a fondness for such labor. It’s a workout to be sure, but work that fills the soul, as weeding or washing dishes fills the soul when meditated upon in the moment. Our singular focus on any one thing is preciously rare in this world of sound bites and notifications. Leave the phone behind and get back to the work—and find yourself in the process.

There will be no rider mower efficiency in this work. I made the choice to walk my lawn when mowing a few years ago, and don’t regret it. There is a soreness that offers solace on a crisp October day, earned through such moments wrestling fallen leaves. If this seems wonderful to you, come celebrate with me. For there are more than enough leaves to share, and only so much autumnal sunshine to work with.

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