As I finish vacuming the living room carpet, Big Boss comes in for his mid-morning snack…whatever he can find in the fridge. He calls me over to the west window, “You gotta see this!” I’m thinking…cardinals (remind me to write about the Giant Cardinal sometime?!) splashing in my fountain water…a squirrel/possum/coon lost in the grass…monarch butterflies fluttering around my fall mums. ”Watch!” I drop the vacum, rush over to the window. Ummmm, what?! And then I saw it. One leaf falling. Another drifting casually down to the still green grass. “Wow! Isn’t that cool?” said I.
No, it does not take much to entertain us. But leaves are huge around here. I mean, leaves are rare on the Plains. Really really rare. You have plant those suckers…elms, oaks, locusts, cottonwoods, etc…even pecan trees (that’s another story I’ll tell later). You buy them through a reputable nursery, then carefully plant them, nurse them through the horrid summers here with LOTS of water. And wrap the trunks so the ever pesky critters, namely cattle (Ahhh, yes, there are several cattle stories.) and deer (I have MANY deer stories!) don’t eat the baby bark off the baby trees, therefore killing them. Then hang little wind chimes on their branches (battery operated outdoors radios work too along with, as a last resort, BB guns. Just call me Annie Oakley!)), prune them lovingly and pray for them, talk to them, fertilize them. Years later, you might, with emphasis on the “MIGHT”, have a tree as tall as you. With actual leaves. Oh joy joy JOY! LEAVES!!!! My inaugural year to rake leaves was a happy day for me. But first, I got to walk into the hardware store and buy a rake. I stirred up a lot of talk that day. “What does SHE need a rake for?” “You don’t suppose….” “NO! It isn’t possible!” But yep, I needed a rake. For actual leaves. See me smile?! =)
I headed to my backyard where gazillions of leaves rested on the grass (another miracle!) awaiting me and my rake. I called everyone and said, “Hey, guess what I’m doing?!” I announced to perfect strangers that I had actual leaves to rake. I was certain I was the envy of everyone. I mean, how many Kansans get rake actual leaves in western Kansas? Not many, I can tell you. Yep, I had arrived. I could drive through Manhattan for a K State football game, look at the gorgeous lawns with red, yellow and orange leaves and smile now. With no envy. For I too had actual leaves. To rake. To pile up. To jump in. Joy!!!
Now guess where I’m headed. Yeah. Leaves are waiting on me. The fun begins!