Looks like I’ll be spending at least part of the holiday raking up leaves from my front lawn. And for that, I am grateful.
Perhaps worth noting: It’s the THIRD time this season that I’ll be taking tool to turf…and admittedly, it’s a little aggravating to have to keep tidying up the exact same space. But recent blustery winds in these parts have made it pretty much a necessity.
MY leaves…and leaves from several of my NEIGHBORS’ trees have more or less decided to stage a convention out in front of our house. They’re swirling and partying half-a-foot deep, almost completely obscuring the sidewalk.
So it’s time to rake, again.
And time to give thanks for leaves.
Amazing appendages, if you think about it: They soaked up the sun in the summertime, providing a shady respite on many an occasion as I scurried to get the grass cut in the searing heat. I’m thankful for the coolness these very leaves provided in the months just past.
Shade is just a side benefit though, isn’t it?
Like “grass-cutter me,” the leaves were actually hard at work when I rested in their shadow. They were photosynthesizing: Converting energy from sunlight into chemical energy (glucose) and oxygen. I’m thankful for that work. I’m thankful for the carbon dioxide those leaves sucked up…and the oxygen they produced. One tree, so I’m told, pumping out enough oxygen to support at least two people.
I’m thankful, too, that the neighborhood trees are smart enough to shed their leaves. Grateful, that they actively engage in this winterization process…so they can survive the cold lean days ahead…and live to photosynthesize again come spring.
Yes, the bio-science of leaves is enough to stop me in my tracks…and move my heart to praise the One whose ingenious design and irrepressible life-spark has – from ages past and even now – set the whole deciduous process in motion.
And now, bless the God of all,
who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters people’s growth from their mother’s womb,
and fashions them according to his will!
Not least, I find myself grateful for the memories today’s fallen leaves stir up in me.
Memories of our daughter and her college friend who once upon a time turned our yard-waste into an artistic treasure…
…And of our granddaughter, who taught her Gramps a thing or two about loving leaves…
…and of our eldest grandson, whose industriousness at raking provided an unexpected Advent blessing.
There’s a lot of life, I’ve learned through the years, in a pile of dead leaves. And so it is – even when heading out for the third time this season – that wielding the rake can set one’s heart to singing.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.