So I’m raking leaves in my yard, thinking about the state of the world, and feeling pretty freakin’ overwhelmed.
Then I stop and really look at the pile I’m making bigger by the second… a lovely, multicolored mound I built by myself, with total control over which leaves went here, or which went there, and how tall or round or spread out the pile would be. This chromatic hill of foliage looks so inviting that I lie down on it, and start raking leaves on top of myself, and I live here now.
Whenever I think of politics and my chest gets tight, I throw more autumnal confetti on my now-enormous leaf kingdom, and burrow farther into it. I’ve dug out a system of tunnels that’d put the Viet Cong to shame, and there’s nothing like a nice slither through my accumulated equinox-droppings to soothe me. My body heat is enough to keep my toes toasty in my cozy dens of oak and dogwood. Any worries about elections, nominations, or the future of our democracy instantly melt as I huddle in leafy warmth and tell myself “I’m the only leadership I’ll ever need.”
When there’s pressure to keep in touch with friends and coworkers via glitchy video calls, I instead find companionship with the creatures in my mildly-mildewed municipality. Who needs incessant emails when I have the does and fawns who sometimes nuzzle me when mistaking my leaf blankets for a snack? I actually do hope that I find them well. No hot gossip can replace chatting with the bunnies who nibble at my grass doormat, or the entertainment of said bunnies running from my friendly-neighborhood foxes. The foxes never want anything from me, they just want to eat bunnies.
Sure, there’s natural annoyances, like the raccoons who raid my frond fortress to steal my shoelaces. But I just unsheathe my trusty rake and beat back those vexing villains. And forget the burden of family; I have the benevolent bugs who live in my leaves. I know their bites mean they love me.
If stray thoughts of viruses enter my mind, and I feel despair, I remind myself how I can care for my health from the distanced safety of my fasthold of harvest holes. I’ve lost those pesky last-ten-pounds by feasting on succulent salads of fallen sumac and sassafras (a sprinkle of spruce needles adds a satisfying crunch). Flossing with stems and brushing with blades is every bit as effective as my old Sonicare.
And I’ve raked up a secondary pile of leaves, or an “out-pile”, for my dirty business. When I feel the urge I merely wander over, wade in, and let my solids and fluids fly freely, knowing I’m giving back to the fertility of my ecosystem. Ha, why would I need toilet paper? I just reach for any part of my deciduous dominion…you’d understand this if you’ve been paying attention.
I am the Lord of Leaf Mountain, long may I reign! If you wish to call upon me, simply stand at the curb and get my attention by tossing a rock in the direction of my fiefdom. Hail me loud and strong, and if I am in a mood to answer, I shall do so from afar.
Pray thee not enter my chloroplast caves, and in turn I shall not venture from their prismatic protections. The outside world ‘tis not my concern, ‘tis yours now, and in caring for it I wish thee well…unless thou art here to collect my property taxes, thou foul beast! I have already offered thee payment with my most organically manufactured compost, and thou canst take it, or thou canst shove it!