Musing about...chasing oak leaves


by Jane Stahl

Win some, lose some. This week I did both. Let me explain.

Every year I must choose a date to close the pool. I hate to close it too soon. Some years, when I gamble and win, I enjoy Indian summer 80-degree afternoons in October, floating in the pool, reading magazines. It’s serenity-to-the-max! When I gamble and lose, I’m vacuuming debris from the pool floor, in raincoat and boots, fighting 40-degrees of wind and rain.

This year, the mammoth oak tree in my yard decided to shed its leaves before my sturdy maples, and I spent a solid week scooping carpets of oak leaves out of the pool and from the pool deck every several hours. It was exhausting!

I had to laugh, however. It seemed as if my oak had developed a schedule for its “leaf drops.” Each morning the pool was clean. Not a leaf anywhere to be skimmed off the surface. Then, out of nowhere, leaves started their fall, as if on cue, for 30 minutes. The “drop” concluded, giving me time for maintenance. The tree seemed to take a break for several hours until it seemed a switch was flipped, and the leaf drop began again.

So…this year I lost the gamble; this year I had lots of exercise chasing oak leaves!

And yet… one glorious afternoon presented full sunshine and a summer-y 80+ degrees. Leaves dropped “on schedule.” I scooped and skimmed until only a few were left in the pool and only a few haltingly left their branches and drifted slowly toward the water.

I grabbed the “win,” donned my bathing suit and my favorite pool float, and spent a totally decadent hour paddling around the pool gathering the remaining leaves, guiding them into the skimmer, or catching those that fell.

I thanked my oak for the “work”—both the exercise and the opportunity to spend one more summer-y day in my favorite place.

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