Slice of Life Tuesday: The "every last leaf on the lawn" club

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
     The last of the leaves have finally fallen, and now every tree top in our once-leafy neighborhood is bare and wintry looking.  As my husband hauled the last leaf bag to the curb on Sunday, I noticed that our next door neighbor was out doing the same as well.  Of course, he belongs to the “every last leaf on the lawn club” – the members of which get to work as soon as the leaves turn and begin floating downwards – and so he has been at work for weeks now.   While non-members like us wait for the leaves to collect a bit (they look so lovely, carpeting the yard in their brilliant colors which move and change with sunlight and wind), members are out there making sure their yards stay pristine and green!   
     We refuse to be shamed into membership, however, no matter how many dirty looks are cast our way – we pretend not to notice those pointed glances at our beautifully tapestried yard, looks that say “your leaves are invading my green…do something about it!”   This is the same neighbor who is also out at the first sign of snow – shoveling his drive and walkway energetically, while we wait for the snow to stop falling, and then pause even longer to admire the way it blankets everything and transforms the neighborhood into one seamless landscape of snow.
     As I watched him pry every last leaf from every nook and cranny on his property, I wondered what he would have been like in sixth grade…in my class, say, as a student.  This is someone who definitely colored  inside the lines…he probably also had his locker perpetually organized and his books color coded and arranged by height.  His desk must have been equally tidy – all his pencils were sharp, and all his pens worked.  He must have handed everything on time, naturally, with his name and the date in the proper places.  He must have always asked for “the extra credit” project and wanted to know how many lines he needed to write for the A+.  He would never have volunteered a discussion point without first feeling it was “right”, and he would have, naturally, always have raised his hand.  He probably never did anything goofy (like the kids in my class so endearingly do, every day) and always made it to class on time.  
     The more I thought about my neighbor this way, the happier I was that he lived next door and not in my classroom – where we find joy in the unusual and celebrate  a certain glorious messiness…like the beauty of a fall lawn strewn with leaves of  russet, scarlet and gold.

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17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: The "every last leaf on the lawn" club

  1. I love how you described your classroom as a place where you celebrate a certain glorious messiness! I can totally relate to that. I love the photo as well! I think that's great that you don't pick up the fall leaves right away. :)Jee Young

  2. Love the messiness of teaching, but I do have a soft spot in my heart for the type-A students. Although I admit to trying to soften their edges a bit in their time with me!Hey, sorry I (almost) screwed up the PF schedule. You're in for the date you requested. All I had to do was swap you and Elaine. Sorry for what seemed to be a slight to you and not using the honor system I myself set up! Please forgive!

  3. Do you live next to us? Your neighbor could be my husband, but he did not have this compulsion for order as a child. He would not have been the student you imagined. It is only as he grew older the need for a tidy yard grew. I loved your descriptions of the yard (carpeting the yard, beautifully tapestried yard) and the picture is absolutely gorgeous!

  4. If you don't live next to Elsie, you must live next to me! And my husband wasn't like this as a child either! He wasn't even like this 20 years ago! I loved your description of your yard also. I love the look of leaves blanketing a yard. Thanks for sharing this beautiful piece of fall.

  5. You described your yard beautifully. When I walk by the homes of the "no leaf" I am always amazed, for you see I belong to the tapestry club. Their lawns sport a different type of beauty. As a kid I wished for more leaves so we could make huge piles to jump in. I would rake our pitiful showing into lines and build the outline of a house. The neighbor kids and I would then play in the rooms of our big house. We would leave openings for the windows and doors. I remember seeing pictures of leaf strewn lawns and wishing we had more trees. I would have loved your lawn.Thanks for sharing.

  6. BRAVO! I have to admit that I did color inside the lines but I thought outside. Does that count? And I so agree that teaching is messy and teaching in the digital world is even messier and I embrace that.So how about Tom Sawyer Diner on Sunday at 10?Bonnie

  7. As I finally raked this year, I wished for my grandson to come over to jump in the piles. There's so much to do with the leaves besides get rid of them! Your picture says it all-just admire them. I love the way you wound your way through to the message of 'glorious messiness'. There are those who don't like it, like your neighbor, but there might be times when he won't be able to sharpen his pencils. I wonder what will happen then? I'm glad you're supporting more than that in your class.

  8. Wow, thank you so much for sharing – this was so lovely to read. I love to look at the beauty in messes too, and fall is the perfect time of year for that. But today we had our first snowfall… =)

  9. I love the last sentence of this post. It reminds me that my kiddos in my classroom are not meant to be perfect and that my "type A" personality needs to leave the classroom sometimes. I just may or may not be your neighbor… 🙂

  10. Your post makes me feel a bit sad that we don't have many (mature) trees on our property. However, the mountain behind our house was filled with all of the colors of autumn 'til just about a week ago. But now, the leaves are really falling… faster than I care to admit. Can you believe it will be December on Thursday?

  11. Loved your post! I hold on to Fall as long as I can too. Those vibrant colors are a treasure….that, and finding the time to rake is impossible. I enjoyed your connection to the classroom. It was a great reminder to value those less tidy bodies in my room. Thank you!

  12. Love the idea of "carpeting the yard in their brilliant colors". Glad you are not bullied into joining the club. Those that walk your neighborhood need to see the green and the fall colors.

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