Joy awaits in my front yard

There’s a yard full of leaves right outside my front door and I can’t wait to get at them.
Tomorrow is the day. The forecast calls for sunshine and a high of 50. I hope to get out there early.
I love raking leaves.
Typically, I will fill 40 or more of those big biodegradable bags. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, I will be sore Sunday morning. But that just adds to the enjoyment.
The name Ackerman, loosely translated from its German origins, means “man of the land,” or more simply, “farmer,” and I sometimes wonder if that’s what pleases me most about being out in the yard with a rake in my hands on a crisp fall day. My dad grew up on a farm. I did not, but often wish I did. When it comes to newspapering, old timers would tell me I was “born with ink in my veins.” That may be true, but I get the feeling I also have the land in my soul.
I feel close to my dad when raking leaves. I’ll be transported back to when he’d rake them into a pile in the gutter and then light them on fire. That’s now illegal. It has to do with air pollution, and I get that. But there was no better smell than the aroma of those burning leaves.
I’ll also think of my kids, now grown and living airplane rides away. When they were little they were always with me when I raked leaves, frolicking in the piles without a care in the world.
Carefree is how I also will feel too come tomorrow. There’s something about physical labor that makes problems melt away. No one knows that better than Mother Nature. Maybe that’s why leaves fall in the first place.

Ed Ackerman