After we finished raking for the third time in three weeks, I wrenched my spine back into position and looked up at the crown of our productive crabapple tree. At least three depth-charge-size trash bags’ worth of leaves still clung to the branches.
I thought of Robert Frost’s October:
“O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.”
Or at least most. By the next morning, the yard was again blanketed in a patchwork of gold and orange and brown. Sigh. I was hoping they would fall in alignment with a later stanza:
“Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.”
I would leave the leaves; they’re good for the soil and prettier than grass. But we live in one of those neighborhoods where people think your lawn should look like a golf-course putting green year round, despite our location in a semi-arid, high-desert climate. It’s no wonder we seem faced with perennial water crisis. Still, raking leaves only enhances my affection for October.
October is my favorite month, presidential election years excepted. The trees do their dazzling burlesque; it’s horror movie season; there is an excuse to buy a dozen bags of Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins when you probably only need two.
Not everyone is a fan. Here in Denver I have already tasted white whine about the “cold.” Some people don’t appreciate how much better it is to hold hands on an October walk through the woods; to snuggle with a dog while you’re watching Night of the Living Dead on the eve of All Hallows’ Eve; to gorge on Reese’s products that you swore you were giving to trick-or-treaters after the former or during the latter.
Besides, the imminent snows will cover the dead leaves, and all of our lawns will look the same again. At least for a few months.