Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cookies and Leaf piles.

I'm eating "Kroger Value: Iced Oatmeal Cookies" right now. I just finished my lunch and have developed the habit of needing a sweet fix after meals. I think there are about 40 Oatmeal Cookies in this package. I also think I might just eat half of them right now. I mean why not? I have been blessed with an incredible metabolism that's never really allowed me to gain weight. On a slow week, my cumulative running mileage is higher than what the majority of Americans will run this whole year. These things are dang good. Oatmeal's good for you, right? Not to mention, I need an excuse to drink the milk in my fridge before it goes bad.

Yeah, I thought so.

The Distillery of Leaves:

On the next street over and about a block down, live some good friends of mine. They are awesome and I'm thankful for them, but I'm annoyed with them right now. They raked a big pile of leaves a month or so ago and left them in the front yard. I'm not annoyed because the leaves look bad...they don't...I'm annoyed because they are so wonderfully inviting that I lose myself every time I drive by them.

Leaf piles are magnificent things:

When I was in middle school (i.e. before I was driving [legally, that is]), I had a purple freestyle Mongoose bike with all the cool pegs and no brakes. I stopped the bike by putting my feet on the front wheel pegs and pinching the tire with my toes, and subsequently went through shoes rather quickly. In Palmyra, PA, all you have to do with your leaves is rake them out to the curb and the big vacuum truck comes to suck them up. Until the vacuum comes, however, they are SO fun to ride your bike through. My favorite thing to do was to ride into the piles and fishtail the back end of my bike so it was sliding sideways through the leaves...freedom.

I have a beautiful maple tree that stands watch over my front yard. In the fall, it goes ablaze with the most beautiful yellow imaginable. During the first year in my house, this queenly maple decided to completely shed her royal autumn robes the week before Halloween. Perhaps she was welcoming me to "my" property. Naturally, I raked them into a massive pile for the neighborhood kids to enjoy, and boy did they ever...I might have enjoyed them a bit myself.

A pile of freshly-raked, dry leaves isn't quite as cushioned as you might imagine. However, if you leave it to brave the elements for a few weeks, this changes. The rain makes the pile a bit spongier and a bit more cushioned. The combination of wind AND rain smooths it much in the same manner as the pebbles that have been worn down by the river-flow.

My friends' pile of leaves has undergone just this transformation. It's smooth, and is surely by now is as cushiony-welcoming as a king-sized bed. We've not seen rain in some days, so it's surely not too soggy. The temperature outside being far more bearable than it's been of late, and the fact that the pile has been warmed by the sun all day is making it simply irresistible to my soul right now.

Pairing this magnificence with my morning readings of Annie Dillard's awe-filled descriptions of nature, I want nothing more right now than to go lay in that pile and stare into the blue sky till it turns to night.

Alas, it just can't be so this day. I've over-stayed my lunchtime, eaten my 20 oatmeal cookies, and must go paint. There will be other leaf piles, and I would certainly like to make sure this property remains in MY name (not the bank's) until I should choose to sell it.

If you have time, perhaps you'll go enjoy a leaf pile today and tell me about it.

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