One of my favorite fall chores is raking and then burning the leaves. And, yes, we still use yard rakes – not those loud whiney noisey leaf blowers. Bob says we use the acoustic tools not electric! That wonderful scritching sound of the metal tines against the ground and that dry rustling of the leaves is the sound of autumn to me. One of my fondest memories is of all us little grandkids helping my Granddad Allen in Crossett, Arkansas, rake and clean his yard before Thanksgiving dinner. All the leaves would be swept and piled onto his garden. Then – a thrill for every little kid – a big bonfire of crackling leaves and the smell of burning pine needles.
Today, I raked the drives and had three big leaf piles waiting on Bob when he got home from work. So after dinner, we burned the leaves.
bright orange and scarlet flames
final colors of october leaves
October’s glorious leaves have become November’s chore. For the next few weeks, we will be raking and burning leaves each weekend. Its not a difficult chore and I actually look forward to it every year. I guess it dates back to when I was a kid and my grandfather in southeast Arkansas. On Thanksgiving, we would travel from our home in Texas to spend the holiday with my mom’s folks in the small logging town she grew up in.
It was always an exciting time for us kids – we would see all the many aunts and uncles that adored us and renew our familial friendships with our many cousins.
On Thanksgiving morning, to keep all the kids out of the house and away from the frenzied cooking in the kitchen, Granddad would give us rakes and tell us to sweep the yard. It would be covered in oak and maples leaves and dry pine needles. The yard would be full of little children raking and piling leaves up to jump in. But sooner or later, all the leaves would be moved to the garden spot in the back of the yard. And then – the most exciting thing of all – Granddad would light the leaves and pine needles. FIRE! There must be an anthropological reason we are drawn to fire, even now. We would dance around the garden as Granddad kept the embers in check. And the smell! What a lovely fragrance of pine and oak smoke!