Get Just One Thing In Order

I love watching trees turn colors in the fall. Technically, of course, these changes mean that the leaves are about to flutter en masse to their crunchy deaths, but golly, it's a beautiful process to behold.  

Yesterday I devoted hours to these leaves. I blew them. I raked them. I repeatedly dragged piles of them on a tarp to the curb so when the township's leaf-sucking truck drives by, we'll be ready. More leaves kept falling while I worked, which somehow felt like celebration (look, it's confetti!) and mockery (look, you'll never finish this task!) all at once.

When I finished the blowing, raking, and tarp-dragging, I entered a final stage of leaf-conquering by cutting the grass, which ground up and mulched leaves that I had missed with the first steps.

After a few hours, I had a pretty substantial pile.

While this yard work was definitely work, it felt therapeutic. Unlike my day job, this type of work gives space for my mind to wander. I immediately see progress, with distinctly satisfying "before" and "after" changes. On top of that, after a stretch of rainy weekends, the weather was perfect -- crisp and dry with sunshine, not damp and dreary or overly cold. 

Each time I upended the tarp to shake more leaves into the larger pile, my eyes took in the scene. I drank in the sights like I was trying to commit them to memory before November settles in earnest and eventually all remaining colors mute into winter's grays and browns.

Once I finished and rolled the lawnmower back into its space in the shed, I slowly paced the yard to inspect my work: the turned-over garden, the cut-back plants, the orderly grass with its perfect lines from the mower. 

It was so pretty. I was so happy.

The leaves kept falling, but now they were landing on ground that already was in order. It was like when my children were little and the difference between when they dumped out a bucket of Legos on a messy floor that needed to be vacuumed, versus when they dumped out a bucket of Legos on a freshly-vacuumed floor.

Somehow, it makes a difference. A mess on top of another mess can feel like too many messes to handle.

Sometimes, you need to get just one thing in order, then everything else feels better. Yesterday, for me, that one thing was these leaves.

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