Fallen leaves

The lawn mower was started up for what I hope is the second last time this year. The grass continues to grow—even though the mercury keeps dropping below the freezing point at night.
The musty odour hangs in the air.
Our yard is well-treed and several of the trees have shed their leaves. The golden leaves from the ash have fallen, as have the ones from the Manitoba maple.
Most of the leaves from the white birch have touched ground, as have many from the red maple. But while those trees seem to be shedding their leaves on schedule, our apple, silver maple, and lilac trees will hold their leaves until the snows of November transform our autumn landscape into winter.
The last leaves to fall will be the silver maple.
Saturday was a wonderful fall day. I was expecting it to be much cooler than it actually was. By mid-morning, I had shed my jacket.
I had mown the lawn as far as I could and a large windrow of leaves had built up. The mower no longer could push or blow the leaves and grass sideways. It was time to move the leaves and grass by hand.
The day was warm and one of the benefits of being outside, working in the yard, was procrastinating by talking with everyone who passed along the sidewalk.
It was time well-spent catching up on friends and their families.
When we first moved to our home, we used to measure our leaves by the number of bags that were placed for garbage pickup. Most were taken by gardeners who were using the leaves for composting.
Now leaves are measured by wheelbarrow loads that go to our composting pile.
The compost pile is in the back corner of the yard, which used to be lower than the rest of the lot. Through piling leaves and grass clippings there for almost two decades, the ground has been raised almost six inches.
I suspect that is why the evergreens that occupy the corner are growing so well.
Normally, cutting the grass takes less than an hour. By the time the last of the leaves and grass had been raked, the time on the clock was well past the mid-point of the day.
I was not alone in the neighborhood raking leaves. And watching around the neighborhood, most yards were being swept clear of leaves—knowing that in one or two weeks we would be back raking again.

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