Autumn Leaves

The story goes that the land my neighbors and I live on was once home to a farmer.

In the late 1970’s, long after the farmer passed on and the fields turned fallow, a real estate developer bought the large property, stripped off the still-valuable topsoil and divided the many acres into 59 house lots. In the beginning, a tall sign stood at the entrance to the developement and welcomed prospective home buyers to “Brittany Park.”

Thanks to the foresight and insistence of the city planners at the time, the developer begrudgingly planted two maple trees along the street side of each lot when a house was finished. Though one of ours did not survive the first winter, the front lawn of our half acre is now graced with a tall, broad and beautiful tree.

Over the years, thanks to my parents’ generosity and, specifically, my father’s expertise, a variety of other trees came to decorate our property. As of now the landscaping includes four red maples, six clumps of white birch, a dogwood, a blueberry bush and, bordering the back yard, a u-shaped hedge  made up of 18 hemlocks. All on our own, my wife and I have contributed another maple, two forsythia, two pines and an oak.

On this October afternoon, as I survey my yard with its newly raked and mowed lawn, there is much that I am grateful for.

I am very grateful that hemlocks are evergreens.

I am also grateful (so far, at least) for the song that’s been running through my head all day: “Autumn Leaves.”

There is a reason, after all, that we call this season “Fall.”

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