Price of autumn sights is hard work

Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.

– Robert Browning

 

Long-sleeve shirt?

“Check”

Work gloves?

“Check”

Rake?

“Check”

“Aspirin?”

“On the kitchen counter with a small glass of water, ready for this afternoon,” says my wife, and I am out the door ready to roll.

So it is with autumn and leaves.

No season makes you pay so soon for sights so grand.

The past few weeks have been the best: clear, blue skies, low-angled sun and all those golds and reds and oranges and purples.

Just beautiful.

It’s everywhere and we even have a photo gallery on our newspaper Web site (spotted.augusta.com/galleries/index.php?id=695) where you can post your own photos and look at those of others.

But what grows up, must come down.

I had one beautiful poplar in the back yard that seemed to turn a brilliant yellow before all its neighbors.

That was last week.

This week, the tree is bare and its yellow leaves are scattered across the lawn, thick and not so golden.

That’s the other thing about autumn leaves -- they look best on the tree. Leaves lose something when they leave.

I know. Years ago I took a business trip to Aspen, Colo., in late September and brought back a small yellow aspen leaf as a souvenir. Months later I came across the leaf pressed in a notebook. It was brittle, brown and dull.

So are most of them on the ground, so we rake, and rake.

And rake some more.

All while using the seldom-challenged raking muscle group of arms and shoulders.

Sometimes, in the past, I have bagged my leaves and let someone take them away.

These days, I pack them into a large trash-can on wheels and haul/roll/drag them to the back of the back yard and pile them against the bottom of the fence, where winter and spring will eventually reduce them to mulch.

When the task is done, I will go inside, take the pain-killer then review my handiwork.

New leaves, I see, are quickly replacing the old.

It happens every fall.

 

TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one from Everett Fernandez.

A religious cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth.

The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes.

He took the precious book out of the cow’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

Not really,” said the cow. “Your name is written inside the cover.”

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