"Let's go jump in a leaf pile!" said my daughters after another pleasant family dinner. It was so temperate outside this evening that we didn't even need our jackets. Everyone put on their shoes and tromped around the house to the backyard. The majesty of the mature maple appeared as we rounded the corner of the house. The maple tree is about the same size as our modest two-story home, with its oversized red-orange leaves glowing above our patio and yard. Half of the leaves presented their beauty yet on the tree while the other half were scattered about the yard. Ian and I used the large red rake to scoop the leaves into an orderly pile, building it ever taller at the request of the children. They took turns alternately scattering the pile and burying each other in it.
I found myself standing with the rake in hand, waiting to be summoned to repair the pile. I looked up, admiring the leaves yet attached to the tree as they twisted in the crisp fall breeze. How did we get so lucky to buy a house with such a perfect tree? "Full and colorful maple tree" was not on our must-have list when we were shopping for houses, and yet I can't imagine living without it. So many happy times are associated with that tree: grilling on the patio under its shade, pushing babies in the swing that hung from a low branch, frolicing in a leaf pile unrivaled by any in my childhood. I wondered what future happy times are in store for me under the tree.
My gaze drifted up above the tree to the darkening sky. The darkness descended much earlier than I expected, reminding me of how quickly the autumn is passing. Where is autumn going? Where did spring and summer go, for that matter? Oh yea, I was sick. I thought about how 4 months ago I had a PICC line and neutropenia. Now I have a port and health. With my health I have walked the girls to school, visited grandparents, attended the circus, cooked all sorts of foods, eaten all sorts of foods, and worked on my science. And raked leaf piles.
"Mom, we're ready for you to fix the leaf pile!" I turned my attention back to the girls, the rake, the leaves, the earth. As I dragged leaves with the rake I felt the power of my legs, torso, and arms. Both arms. Whole body. I was complete.