Weekly Photo Challenge: Layers

When I was a kid, we had a gigantic yard (about an acre), and we had some monstrous maple trees.  Naturally, this meant we’d end up with leaves all over the yard as they began to fall off of the trees.  Ordinarily, we had this sweeper behind our riding lawnmower and we’d just drive around and pick up all the leaves – we didn’t have to rake the entire acre.

One year though, my brother and I decided to rake all the leaves in the back yard (where they were most heavily concentrated) into one giant pile.  Not these wimpy little piles all over the yard, no.  With great aggravation I’m sure, we dragged all of the leaves from all over the back yard into one giant pile.  And then we jumped in and out of that mammoth pile multiple times before disposing of the leaves in the appropriate manner.  In the country, we burned them.  Yeah, it stunk, but it was effective.  No longer having the option to burn massive piles of leaves, I spent my Saturday afternoon bagging 13 bags of them for the yard waste truck to come collect on Monday morning.

As I was raking them into piles, I was struck with the following thought — I don’t know why, as kids, the idea of jumping into a pile of leaves EVER seemed like fun.  Perhaps we just didn’t think through what we were really jumping into, but when I was raking this afternoon, I saw the answer to this week’s photo challenge — layers.  You see, I won’t jump into a pile of leaves now that I’m an adult because I know that the fun looking stuff is only the top layer.  I know that a pile of leaves actually consists of:

1.  dead, dry, crunchy leaves that look inviting and beckon to you to jump into them.
2.  moist, soggy leaves that were at the bottom of the pile and have been stirred up as they’ve been raked.
3.  sticks — mostly pointy and brittle because they’re dead and have fallen off of the tree for a reason.
4.  all sorts of bugs — today I saw ladybugs, caterpillars, potato bugs, ants, and worms.  I’m sure there were more.
5.  rotting and rotten chunks of walnut pods from before all the walnuts were off the walnut tree.
6.  sopping wet black goop that has dried and re-moistened several times since being discarded from the bottom of my eaves troughs.

Sounds inviting, right?  Do you still want to jump into this pile of leaves?  I sure don’t, but apparently the disgusting Eco-system lurking just beneath the surface is not a deterrent to a dog….

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