Since the weather cooled, Hubby has eradicated our yard of leaves a few times. Each time he straps on the gas blower, it takes over an hour for him to clear the dry tree droppings from our lawn, garden beds, driveway and walkways. Upon tidying up the grounds and getting a good night’s sleep, Hubby magically awakens to a leaf covered yard as if he’d never blown a single leaf.

Since the weather cooled, Hubby has eradicated our yard of leaves a few times. Each time he straps on the gas blower, it takes over an hour for him to clear the dry tree droppings from our lawn, garden beds, driveway and walkways. Upon tidying up the grounds and getting a good night’s sleep, Hubby magically awakens to a leaf covered yard as if he’d never blown a single leaf.


Our trees are still covered with leaves of varying colors and stages of death. Therefore, there have been a few friends and neighbors who have gently criticized Hubby’s relentless pursuit of a leaf-free landscape. Why not wait until all the leaves are down, they question. What is the point of clearing leaves if more are going to fall in their place, they wonder.


But before the week is out, Hubby will have strapped the blower on his back yet again and created a crunchy ridge of decaying leaf trash along the street in front of our home.


There are other household projects that could use a little attention. The decks need to be stained, for example. But, as Hubby reminds me often, he can’t stain the decks until the trees are bare and the last leaf is blown to the curb. The flower beds need to be mulched. But again, Hubby argues, until falling leaves are no longer an issue, the mulching will have to wait.


So, why not work on inside projects until the leaves are all gathered to the ground by gravity? That was my question after Hubby completed the last round of leaf removal. I knew the answer before the words made the journey from my lips to his ears. It was his insatiable love affair with autumn weather.


My man cannot resist blue skies, crisp dry air, gentle northern breezes, or the bright rays of sunshine as they dance with brilliantly colored floating leaves. I have a hard time resisting beautiful autumn days, as well.


So given the choice between cleaning out a dark, dank closet in the depths of our creepy, dimly lit basement or repeatedly removing leaves on glorious fall days, Hubby is going to select the outdoor activity every time.


Don’t misunderstand. Our basement will take on a whole different personality if we get the cold, snowy days the fat, white woolly worms have predicted. With a few inches of snow on the ground and a house full of people home from school and work, our basement actually seems warm, brightly lit, and full of potential.


But until blizzard conditions develop, Hubby will create reasons to be outside. Although, keeping up with the leaves is not a bad idea. If he did wait for the four billion leaves upon our old and giant trees to fall before trying to blow them to the street, he’d have an overwhelmingly large task to tackle.


The bottom most layer of leaves would be damp and heavy. The next few layers would be thick and hard. The top layer would be deceivingly fluffy and unruly. It would take several full days of blowing and raking to clear all the layers.


Hubby won’t have that kind of time to devote to the leaf battle once the leaves are all down. Rather, after an hour blowing the last wave of tree litter off our lawn, Hubby needs to get right to the task of staining and sealing the deck and mulching the flower beds.


In the meantime, I believe there is one additional reason Hubby prefers to spend an hour or two here and there keeping up with whatever the trees decide to throw at him. He’s been using a friend’s gas powered blower. I could be wrong, but it seems like every time he secures the blower to his back and grabs the nozzle, he transforms into some kind of autumn super hero.


The Autumn Avenger. Captain Leaf Control.


For a little while, on a brilliantly beautiful fall morning, Hubby takes on the evils of dead leaves, wind and gravity. He keeps his family safe from leaf clutter and the bug infestations, mildew and grass demise that can occur if the leaves are allowed to pile up.


The only real problem with the attention Hubby has given to our yard is the squashing of my own superhero fantasies. As early as my preschool days, I’ve looked forward to that big pile of leaves into which Super Micki lands after flying through the crisp, fall air. Fighting pretend crime just isn’t the same without that belly flop into a huge, fluffy, crunchy pile of red, brown, yellow and green tree debris.


But this year, Hubby has not allowed the leaves to collect and pile high enough for a safe Super Micki landing. I guess I’ll have to wait for that blizzard promised by the wooly worms. Snow piles make great landing sites as well.


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Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and the author of Thurston T. Turtle children’s books. She and her family live in North Carolina. Her e-mail address is mickibare@gmail.com.