I’m sitting in my studio looking out my window at the sparkling sunshine glinting off the cars parked in my driveway. Wait, something is missing; my driveway! Where is my driveway? Normally the concrete stretches out almost to the street. But not today! Today it is buried underneath a layer of pine needles. Ah yes, the reason it is called “Fall” is plain to see.
I know, Fall officially starts in September and ends in December, but at my house Fall occurs during two weeks in the middle of November when the pine forest that is my yard gives up this year’s crop of needles that will soon be harvested my by yard guy.
Yes, I have a yard guy, he doesn’t visit year round but he is a life saver when the going gets rough and the pine needles get deep. For one thing, I am not allowed to climb the ladder to my roof. Although, I miss the opportunity to get up there and clean off the roof in the solitude of a Fall afternoon, I think it is probably for the best that I don’t scramble over the edge of the roof anymore. Funny thing that, when I was a kid, I used to jump off the roof of my house in Florida. I did it once off my house here in South Carolina, in a universe far away and a time long ago. But I had to pick the lowest corner of the house and the softest landing spot in the yard.
It always took me longer than necessary to clean off the roof. I was never in a hurry. I enjoyed the time aloft looking down at my neighborhood, enjoying the view that I got to see only once yearly. It reminded me of the time when I wished I could fly as a young Superman wannabe. I envisioned flying slowly at treetop level, close above the verdant branches, taking it all in as I wound my way through limbs and branches. Being on the roof took me there again every year. You would think that all those years spent teaching flying would have scratched that itch, but this is different. Flying an airplane was all science, speed and altitude. The kind of flying I wanted to experience was, slow, lyrical and a total fantasy. But being on the roof got me there, almost.
Then there was the mysticism of the rake. I must admit that I hated yard work as much as the other guy, but there was something about standing in a shaft of Fall sunlight in cool, crisp air smelling the scent of earth and grass recently released from a shroud of pine needles. Often, I would have the radio on listening to the football game or my favorite tunes. It was almost a magical time. At lease looking back on it, it seems that way. Time flew by. And in my younger days, I didn’t pay for it the next day in the form of aches and pains.
So, in a few weeks, once the needles have fallen for the year, I’ll give my yard guy a call and let him and his crew make the yard look good for Thanksgiving. After he is gone, I’ll step out on the front porch, sit down on the steps, take a deep breath and enjoy the moment of being in a newly raked yard on a sunny and cool Fall afternoon. Oh MY!