A few questions for you:
· Have you ever raked leaves?
· Have you ever jumped in a pile of raked leaves?
· Have you ever re-raked and re-raked piles of leaves in which others have jumped?
· Have you ever gathered an armful of leaves and thrown them on a sibling or friend … or parent, if you dared?
· Have you ever tried to remove bits of crumbled leaves, broken twigs, and dried grasses from your hair after a leaf battle?
· Have you ever thrown leaves in the air in abandon, watching them freefall in the wind for a second time?
How many “yes” answers did you have? If four or more, you are a true autumn-leaf-play aficionado—which simply means you love to frolic in autumn leaves! You thrill to the sound of your feet crunching over crispy orange oak leaves covering the sidewalks or the sight of red maple leaves flipping across the ground as you kick them over and over.
Maybe you, as I, have special memories of these things. One of my favorites I participated in, but another I enjoyed the aftermath of the fun.
The latter came in a photograph, my favorite of all-time, the one which graces my Facebook blog page and my business cards. One year for my birthday, our daughters asked a friend for a photo shoot of the three of them. They chose autumn, my favorite season, and Little Buffalo State Park as the location, a place where we have many fond memories. Some photos showed silly girls with tiny pumpkins on their heads (no names mentioned). Others gave Mama a heart attack when seeing her offspring hanging off beams in a covered bridge. But the one of the girls tossing leaves in the air, joy on their faces, blesses me most.
Now, the one I took part in! Our one son-in-love grew up in a city and had never raked a pile of leaves. So, as soon as our oak tree dropped most of its yellow-orange leaves, I encouraged him to bring his then four-year-old daughter, Rosemary, for a day of leaf play.
To keep warm in the late autumn chill, we bundled up in sweaters and headed out. I handed the rake to Rosemary’s dad and said, “Here you go! Rake all these leaves into one huge pile!”
He looked around at the large area covered by leaves from a giant tree and gave me a look that said, “Do what?!” I smiled and grabbed Rosemary’s hand to show her how to kick the leaves as fast as Daddy raked them. He raked, we kicked, leaves flew!
Finally, I corralled Rosemary by having her lie down so her mama and I could cover her with leaves. While she giggled and wiggled, her daddy finished the pile. Rosemary and I held hands, raced across the now bare grass, and leapt into the leaves, spreading them far and wide.
Daddy looked a bit bewildered as I handed him the rake he’d put down. Being a good sport, though, he reraked the pile over and over to his daughter’s delight. Her joy rang out as she jumped in pile after pile … with me, with her mama, and, giving him a break from raking, with her daddy.
What a fun memory! I just know God has a big old leaf-pile up there in heaven waiting for those of His children who love the feeling of flying through the air to land in a mountain of orange, red, and gold. And you know what? I think Jesus will be jumping in right beside us!
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