From the BFMS Forum, November 6, 2009 (edited)
Rather listlessly, I’ve been raking up leaves in the last fortnight. I own one of those blower machines but don’t get on with it. It’s heavy and makes my hearing go numb. I live in a pristine close and I worry that my untidy garden could affect the valuations of my neighbour’s homes, whose razored and weedless lawns are free of autumn debris. Mrs L thinks I’m a wimp to think like that – and says so.
What’s left here after recent heavy rain is a squidgy dark brown leaf pulp. A week ago the grass was carpeted with autumn tints and I recalled, as I always do, the comment of my elder daughter more than 40 years ago, as we walked, ankle-deep in fallen leaves, in an avenue of chestnut trees in the local park. ‘It’s like a golden wedding dress,’ she said. It was a wonderful image and that small child’s radiant use of it strikes afresh every year. I wonder if she remembers it. Her small daughter shows signs of having inherited a glowing use of language too She pointed out recently that I walk like a penguin, for instance (Mrs Llew in fits). She’s quite right of course. It’s my knees. Happy days here, at the moment, indeed.
Although our other daughter was not with us on the day of the golden wedding dress she often came with us in her pushchair. I wonder whether she might remember going, a few years later, with her sister and me to another avenue of chestnuts very early one October morning and gathering conkers from among the fallen leaves. Some schoolmates appeared out of the incense-like mist, with their mother, going about the same task. There was a wood and a meandering brook there, and we went and explored, looking for flowers or foraging for berries and fruit according to the seasons. I wonder if the girls remember the mass of garlic-smelling ramsons in spring … Oh and we really did play pooh sticks from the footbridge over the stream.
Both our girls are married now, and mothers. Come to think of it, it’s less than two years till Mrs Llew and I, God willing, celebrate our Golden Wedding.