Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Remember...

I'm a visual person so I think fall was always my favorite time of year. The splashes of color in October that fade to November-brown before December roars in shedding the seasonal cloaks stick with me as if looking at a photograph. The outstretched branches like arms and hands rejoicing in their freedom. Underneath lay (or lie - I have truly given up on trying to know the difference) Mother Nature's laundry just waiting to be raked up into mounds taller than me. The eight-year old me.

Other than the ones that were wind-blown in on connecting flights - destination: backyard - I imagine most of our leaves came from the huge maple - huge to the eight-year-old anyway - that held our treehouse (a home away from home). I assume if the people that lived there after us didn't murder that tree (and treehouse) and I was able to stand next to it once again, the size wouldn't be so grand. You gotta love how childhood puts that extra emphasis on experiences or even just the significant pieces of the landscape of those memories.

I remember my blue jacket, my brother had the same one, but in red, and it was the coolest jacket ever. I'm not sure if I wore that while helping my dad rake or afterward when we would plow our way through or fly into the accumulated pile. I believe my dad even picked us up and tossed on top of the pile as we quickly sank through the colorful layers. If you would have asked me then I would have said it felt as soft as a mattress. Later in life I attempted a jump into a pile of leaves only to come to the realization that the landing is pretty hard. Painfully so. When I think of life in Kinzers, I think of piles of leaves with my dad right next to it, rake in one hand and a smile beneath his mustache. I also remember that blue jacket. It signified cooler weather which meant only one thing. Fall.

My dad, as far as I can remember, would rake the leaves back up into a mountain. His back probably ached and most likely had something to do for work or other chores around the house that needed attending, but he chose to play with me and my brother. He may not have dove into the stack of leaves and sticks, but I still considered it play-time with dad.

My work ethic, although in need of tuning and adjustment from time to time, was built brick by brick by my dad. Or maybe he is the mortar that keeps the bricks together as one solid unit. Either way, he was an integral part of the wall I call me. I hope my daughters remember times spent with me outside raking leaves. I wasn't one of the participants in hiding under the leaves when we were outside just the other day, but I had a rake in one hand - ready to re-rake - and a smile living in their moment. Hoping if I'm not their bricks I'm at least their mortar - a small, but important part of who they are.

After we worked, we played!

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