Early last week we had a small ice and wind storm. It was worse in other areas — friends who live about half an hour away got actual snow, and their schools were closed. We got a pebbly ice coating on our porch and back door, a layer of ice on our ponds and plants, and leaves and small branches in drifts in odd places.
The leaves blew into big piles against walls and in corners, leaving the lawn mostly leafless. They piled up on the surface of the ponds. Our puppy, Cody, tried to walk through what appeared to be a pile of dry leaves and instead fell through them into the goldfish pond — a moment which, regrettably, I failed to capture.
Niko was thrilled by the leaves. Entranced. Giddy. We and the puppy walked over to the shed on Wednesday to finish storing water lily roots for the winter, and he stopped and stared when he saw the three-foot drift of leaves against the wall. “Mommy. Look! At the LEAVES!” And then, amazement turning to joy, he was in the pile, Cody leaping after him. He disappeared completely — all that was visible was his nose and the top of his head.
He spent a quarter hour leaping, running, tunneling through the leaves. Tossing them into the air and dancing under them. Flinging them at the dog and shouting with laughter when Cody, bewildered by the featherweight barrage, tried to dodge. So much joy.
Yesterday we did some outside work. I took care of uprooting dead green bean vines and cutting back the blackened dahlia stems and asparagus fronds. (Asparagus makes pretty red berries. I had no idea.) And Aaron got out our new leaf blower/vacuum/mulcher and cleaned up the giant piles of leaves.
Niko had been tagging around with Aaron, happy to be helping Dad, but while Aaron was getting the leaf vacuum ready, he was inside getting a drink. So he had no warning that his beloved leaves were about to disappear. We came around the corner of the house together to see this:
And poor Niko froze in horror, his mouth open, a look of panic on his face. Then his disbelief turned to grief and rage, and he started howling: “No, Daddy, NO! Please don’t! I WANTED TO PLAY IN THOSE!”
But between the noise of the engine and the headphones, Aaron couldn’t hear (and, having only a short time to work, would probably have finished the job anyway), and every leaf got sucked up and mulched. I guess Niko will just have to wait for the next wind storm.