A blurb I recently posted on Facebook “Oh Autumn how I love the beautiful colors that you adorn on each tree this time of year, but why must you cry so many of them for me to rake? I have blisters that are now adorning the crevices between my thumbs and index finger and now I’m the one crying tears of pain!” inspired a series of thoughts this past weekend as I feverishly recruited my entire family for a day of yard cleanup. Not the most famous mom in the eyes of my girls after announcing their chore line-up on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, but alas I got my crew to help, hubby included to master one of Autumn’s biggest labors… leaves.
Autumn is my most favorite time of year. I am forever telling everyone how I feel as if my body comes out of a coma… whereas autumn is about getting nestled in for a deep winters sleep ahead, I come alive as the morning air is crisp, colors so rich, warm and inviting, smells of cinnamon and nutmeg and just when you think it’s a little too cold for your britches, the sun rises full mast and forces you to look up, close your eyes and let it’s richest in Vitamin D sink into your soul.
This particular Sunday was one of those glistening, sunny mornings and after 16oz of Joe pumped through my veins, hair tied up in a treetop above my head, gloves and a good old fashioned rake, I was ready to go. As Sorceress in Command it is only expected that I lead the crew first… after all you don’t really think my team would get a head start without me, do you? No, no my team prefers to stand on the side-lines, getting the last re-runs of “Wizards of Waverly Place” in and need to be announced via loudspeaker, that I am serious about the much needed “family” help outside of the Kingdom.
It wasn’t long before the spellbound Vitamin D unconsciously snuck into the veins of my offspring as their celestial bodies begun to dance with rakes and garbage bags performing their own magical spell as they swirled a sea of leaves into a big pile of childhood memories where they so eagerly needed, wanted to jump! Looking at me as if to ask my permission and daring to jump all at the same time, I did my best “I Dream of Jeanie” wink with a nod and the two flying girls landed in a mass of silliness. A blast of memories flooded deep into the marrows of my body and all felt sweet. I could tell once my Charmers went back to work and hubby followed suit behind, that although we choose to rake leaves the old fashioned way, a strong mix of work ethic, pride and togetherness overwhelmed all of us. There was no complaining, no stops of rest, no desires from my descendants to be anywhere else but here in our own Magical Kingdom.
I remember when my oldest started wondering over to the other side of the yard to make more piles and when I directed her stay on the same side as us, she frumped an angry look as if to say “Hey, I’m independent, I’m good at making my own piles, I can start another area and be done with it.” Without missing the beat of lesson opportunity, I explained how if we stick together as a team, all working toward one goal, we will work faster, get more accomplished and look back on our vast impact with pride. Not quite sure what I was talking about she reluctantly agreed and we worked non-stop to get the largest, most impactful part of the property done, and when we were 95% there, we stopped and looked at our efforts, now seeing a sea that resembled a small pile shag carpet of green and the delight in all of our eyes. Little one kept running into the street to take in the majestic views and running back to report “Mommy we have the nicest yard this year! It’s so beautiful!” It’s beautiful my dear little one because it was work that you did, we did together. You’re feeling self-satisfaction. “Self-satisfaction? What’s that?” It’s the feeling you have now. A feeling from accomplishing something from start to finish, no matter how rough it seemed in the beginning. A sense of pride that you achieved this goal and you didn’t even have the expectation that it was there. “Oh, I like self- satisfaction!”
Only wanting to master the front, we seamlessly made our way to the back and my girls eventually made there way into something they haven’t done in a long time together. They played. Sounds silly for some, but my now 10 and a half and 12 and a half year old girls have been very busy this year with new schools, new friends and new found independence, that the take-for-granted days when they used to play endlessly together, has become unimportant to them. A refresher course was all that was needed to get these smiley girls to do what came natural to them. I shooed them away to continue playing as Hubby and I tended to the last of the leaves and while gathering my last pile, and eventually making my way to put our deck furniture to sleep for the winter, I realized how much this time of year really is all about gathering. I could feel a sense of warmth in my heart that symbolically came from just a pile of gathered leaves, soon to be decomposed to turn into a nutrient base, homeopathic to Mother Nature, as our family and dogs even, gathered to what seemed also a natural source derived from nature, for us to transcend back into the meaning of Family.