I Brake for Leaves!

Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the crisp temperature, the smells, my Scorpio birthdate, and mostly the colors.

I spent many years deprived of my fall leaves, after we moved from Colorado. In Oregon, the fall tends to follow a pattern something like this:

1)Summer ends slowly (because it got a late start).

2) Temperatures start to drop sometime in October, and the leaves begin to change… whispering seductive promises of crimson red and fiery orange.

3) You think to yourself, “Next weekend, that will be the perfect time to go get some shots of fall foliage.”

3) In the meantime, the “Cloud Cover of Doom” hears that siren song of the leaves and rolls in to begin its bucket brigade over the Willamette Valley (which will last until June).

4) The leaves are quickly drummed out of the trees and crushed into the ground cover and sidewalks.

5) You head out with your camera, only to find brown, rotting muck, blocking gutters and decaying in slimy, wet,  raked-up, slug-laden heaps.

And let me tell you, that as a child looking forward to the novelty of jumping in raked-up leaf piles, there is nothing so off-putting as the discovery that the pile is  full of fat, juicy slugs.

It makes you feel kind-of like this:

My all-time favorite, Calvin and Hobbes. Thank you Bill Watterson.

Many years later… Enter: the beauty of Idaho.

The leaves in this state are perfect. Here in the Treasure Valley they are nice, but if you can get up to McCall or Sun Valley into the Aspen trees… Gorgeous. Probably one of my favorite things in the world.

In my own yard the colors are less than spectacular. For that reason I plan to ignore my leaves entirely. It’s not a problem if I don’t rake up a single one, right? For that matter, I don’t even own a rake. I’d be out there with a broom, or the vacuum  cleaner. It goes along with the rest of my yard-tending abilities. That is an instinct I do not seem to possess. The lawn mower and I… have a relationship I am not ready to talk about yet. The anger and humiliation are too fresh. Fiercely independent girl that I am, I never thought I’d be adding “Must Love Yardwork”  to my list of desirable boy qualities, but the alternate may involve me replanting the lawn with wildflowers, or cacti.

I’m still hoping that maybe in the springtime I will be inexplicably overcome by the desire to plant and tend to green things?

The one place where I seem unable to ignore the leaves is in my street.

Its getting dark so early that most days I find myself driving back through my poorly-lit neighborhood after the sun has set. In the hours after dark I tend to drive more attentively, especially through our unmarked intersections. On more than one occasion now I have hit the brakes (medium-gently) for a small creature skittering across the road, only to realize it was a leaf.

It’s not the first time. I remember doing it years ago. Although in Oregon, the appearance of a leaf that is dry enough to scuttle across the street is a small miracle in itself; it’s understandable that one would stop to watch.

Just between us, this attentive, defensive driving could more honestly be categorized as vision impairment. But really, I’m good! Unless I have to read street signs in the dark. It’s a very minor astigmatism. The right leaf, in the right breeze, looks remarkably like a mouse, or a frog. I’m sure anyone would agree.

If not,  I can just claim it is my reverence for the beauty of fall that stops me from running over innocent leaves.

Godspeed, little ones!

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~ by Lindsey on November 2, 2010.

5 Responses to “I Brake for Leaves!”

  1. you’re incredible. and your comments on slugs sent me into a tizzy of laughter. thank you!

  2. […] yes, my second favorite season.  I’ve already explained my slightly unhealthy infatuation with fall. It’s only natural that winter makes me a little giddy as well. I started on skis before I […]

  3. […] to take the written test (not a big deal), and pass the vision exam. Problem. When I wrote about Breaking for Leaves? I was serious about the ‘slight astigmatism’. I was pretty sure that the row of […]

  4. […] Autumn. Harvest season. It’s cliché, But I don’t care. I’ve talked about it before, but that’s not going to stop me from telling you again. I love fall leaves, and crisp days, […]

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