Leaf me alone.

Whatever vengeful gods or faeries blew a violent gale upon us here in Scotland today. I was repeatedly pegged in the head with branches, fast-food sacks, and various small animals, simply coming home after a long day in the libraries.

With John Home’s 1802 History of…still fresh on my fingers, old-styled “s” that masquerade as “f” everytime I close my eyes (still confounding and making me stutter over the pages, even after all these years), I force-marched through the Meadows to find a welcome respite from the trembling buffet of leaves.

Damn the trees for their casting off so many crispy ships of gorgeous hues,
but Love them for bringing back the deeply-buried memories
of childhood wonder, and the undeniable urge
to jump into the massive piles, more welcome and sound than any jacuzzi,
beanbag, leather Lazy-Boy, or even the warm and tender curvature
of her lower back as it hums next to you so early in the morning
or late at night.
The leaves don’t care
or carry those bittersweet memories with them, and there’s nothing left
to pine over, neither birch nor maple; deep inside the piles
you can’t hear anything anymore. You can’t feel anything anymore
except the multitude of tiny stirrings that busy bug legs instill,
echoing through the layers of fragrant luxury heaped on top, shutting out the light and the wind.
Like steaming clothes fresh out of the dryer, the leaves beckon to suck me up, just
like I used to do, back then, over there.

And then they launch their assault, swirling with madness and unyielding drama,
leaves cracking against the pavement in crunchy waves of red and yellow,
an ochre offensive that never relents.
Then I glance back at the brave, brave man
on the diesel-powered four-wheeled leaf-blower
with enough roaring power to strip the grass from the ground,
the skirts from the ladies
and kilts from the boys.
But he’s having problems, and I’m bemused by his fearless ritual.
As he jets around, forward, reverse,
so adept at corralling a billion, jillion little rafts of golden warmth
or condemning them to perpetual stasis,
shot out to be flattened against the stone walls
where no one can hear them popping beneath their souls?
I can’t envy him, caught in a Sisyphean cycle,
a Herculean venture
with certain Pyrrhic consequences,
for the piles of leaves are bigger than us
and bigger than we could ever hope to be.

I smirk at his futility
but envy his mobility.

And then *snap!*
I walk back home again.

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