I love autumn, but I thought of how I will miss our fresh vine-ripe tomatoes as I popped some bread in the toaster, and sliced a tomato.
When the bread jumped, I slathered on some mayo, spread the slices across the warm bread, sprinkled on salt and ate the sandwich standing at the sink.
The wind out of the north jangled the chimes on the side porch and put a fresh layer of leaves on the back deck.
The water oak in our front yard has finally decided it’s autumn. Unlike the harbinger sumac, which starts screaming in late August with tinges of red and crimson, the water oak takes his time before deciding to let go of his leaves.
I made a mental note to sweep the deck after I finished writing my column.
As often happens when I don’t have a decent idea to write about, I piddled. I straightened up computer cords, cleaned my keyboard, filed CD’s and did everything but write.
I sat in my office so long my rear-end went to sleep. I almost tapped the letters off the keyboard, and every idea I came up with was “lamer than a land-mine sweeper.”
That’s when I stepped outside to get some fresh air and remembered the deck needed my attention. Thank goodness for small favors.
I grabbed the broom from inside and went to work sweeping a couple bushels of leaves off the deck.
I actually enjoy this chore. It’s one of those mindless activities that feels good. I get a little exercise, and when I’m finished, I can look back and get a feeling of accomplishment. It’s instant gratification.
There are a lot of people I know that hate trees and would have the water oak chainsawed before you could say Paul Bunyun.
They don’t like trees close to their house, they don’t like birds using their vehicle as a potty (actually I’m not fond of this either), they can’t stand squirrels, and they’d rather lick a toad than rake leaves in the fall.
I love that tree and consider it a gift. I’m not that good at guessing sizes, but it looks big enough to have its own zipcode.
My garden loves the water oak as much as I do because I till mountains of dried leaves into the soil to make organic fertilizer.
I also use them to mulch our fruit trees, and I always save some to burn on cool Saturday afternoons.
Mother Nature is no dummy. She provides us all with gifts that keep on giving.
Not only is the tree beautiful, but it also provides shade in the summer, and in the fall it nourishes our garden, it gives me physical exercise, and a mental respite.
I just realized that while sweeping the leaves, I came up with the idea for this column, so it is also my muse. What more could you ask for?
Rick will be signing books on Friday after Thanksgiving by Debs & Co Gift Shop in Jasper Mall from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.