It’s fall in New Zealand and the leaves are changing.
Well, at least they have a bit of color, especially around the university.
But it’s nothing like the photo above.
Our “fall leaves” are sort of like our “Mexican food”.
You never measure up to the original, huh?
Fall leaves were just fricken awesome back home in Oklahoma. Fall was always my favorite time of year.
Letter jackets pulled tight against the cold. Friday night NHS Tiger Football games, and going all Boomer Sooner on Saturdays. (Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Selmon).
But the best thing about Fall had to be the leaves, at least when I was little, and then again when I got older.
Sadly, not not everyone “gets” Fall leaves.
Poor Charlie Brown did not. We blame Lucy and her football. Rats.
But Calvin and Hobbs?
They LIVED for Fall leaves!
A few Fall leaves would crunch underfoot in our backyard on Nebraska Street. Nothing special. The trees were too young.
But at my grandmother Moew’s house, near OU, it was a very different story. She was surrounded by old Oak trees. And the leaves in her backyard would have made Calvin and Hobbs think they had died and gone to heaven.
Even using Moew’s million-year-old rake, it wouldn’t even take 10 minutes to rake up a thigh-high pile.
After you’d raked and raked raked, and gotten all sweaty and crunchy under your football jersey, it was serious leapin’ time — but you had to be quick, else the Oklahoma wind would undo your handiwork.
You’d push your butt way deep into the cyclone fence, and then “shoot” yourself toward the leaf pile at about a million miles per hour.
Then you would leap. Soooo high. And just hang there, forever. Way before Michael Jordan ever thought about doing it for a living.
And then? A perfect swan dive, or even a full flip, dead center into the massive leaf pile, which would then explode with a “PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHH”, followed by maniacal, childish laughter.
Repeat a million times. Maybe two million.
Then Meow would call you in for a grilled cheese sandwich that she’d made just right, with half a stick of butter in her huge cast iron skillet.
Throw in dill pickles, a mountain of Lay’s potato chips and a couple of AAA root beers, and man, you were livin’.
Even so, Meow’s leaves were strictly minor league.
Big League Leaves
The Big League of Fall Leaves was in Arkansas, witness the photo above.
In my 20s and 30s, when I was single and then after I got married, we’d leave Texas behind every Fall and head north.
We’d gather Mom and a sister or two, then head to Arkansas once we’d heard through the grapevine that the “leaves had turned”.
I guess it was a three-or four-hour drive from Norman, but it was so worth it.
When you got there, you could drive for miles and miles and miles and just marvel at the leaves. Seriously.
A million shades of red and yellow and orange and brown — sometimes pastels, sometimes shockingly electric — as if the leaves were God’s palette for painting Fall.
We’d drive for hours, much of the time in silence, until an awestruck sister would say, “Oh, Mother, look at that!” And you would just be stunned by the artistic wonder of Nature.
Even though you’d be driving really slowly, trying to take it all in, nobody would honk to make you speed up.
They were also enjoying the leaves.
It was sort of like at Christmas, when people drive around looking at Christmas lights.
Except here, the Autumn leaves were the bulbs.
People, if you are seriously into Autumn leaves, start planning now. Click here to get your Arkansas Fall Foilage Vacation information.
Click here for free Hog Tweets from HogsAteMySister and 10 billion Fall leaves that will magically be deposited onto your front yard come October. (Leaf blower not included in this special offer)