Autumn Serenade

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A while ago, I posted about my time as a school caretaker.

One of the things I loved about the job was that I got to work outdoors. I was relatively young then instead of the arthritic hop-a-long I am now who seizes up at the slightest hint of damp or cold.

The early morning starts gave me the opportunity to see nature at it’s most serene, like on a snowy day when the snow was crisp and untouched except for the boots of the paper-boy (and the odd patch of dog piss). The yellow patches reminded me of Slush Puppies and that’s probably why I’ve never been a fan. *boaks*

The school had an enormous cherry blossom tree in it’s grounds. In bloom it was a sight to behold. The children used to stand under the falling blossom and pretend it was snow. Cute, eh?

The blossom would give way to summer leaves which would provide much needed shade for the children, not to mention menopausal teaching staff who were constantly hot-flushing.

Summer would give way to autumn and this magnificent old tree would put on it’s final show of the year by turning it’s leaves red, yellow, orange and ,occasionally, deep crimson – my favourite shade of red.

All too soon the leaves began to fall and they’d glide gracefully down to the floor. Sometimes I’d watch this performance while I had my tea before the staff started to arrive. It was like meditation, courtesy of nature.

Some of those leaves would be gathered by the children and would end up stapled to the walls inside the school. Some would be crammed into bags and pockets to take home (or be found months later) but mostly they covered the yard like a 1970’s carpet. An awesome sight.

The thing about leaves is that they become slippery when wet so I had to gather them up whenever possible for safety reasons. Break a limb? Not on my watch!

It was back-breaking work. There were no fancy smanchy blowing machines for me. Just an old yard brush and few refuse sacks!

Occasionally Mother Nature would do the job for me and a big gust of wind would blow the leaves under the privet, leaving me free to do other caretakery work, like fishing Stickle Bricks out of toilets.

Sometimes, if the forecast was good, the head teacher would ask me to postpone raking up the leaves so the children could enjoy a leaf-kicking session. Some days if the leaf fall was disappointing, I’d go round raking up as many leaves as I could from elsewhere to make it more fun. I was a nice caretaker, not at all miserable like Argus Filch, or the ones from my school days. I can’t ever imagine them going to such lengths to make children happy. Miserable gits.

It would take several weeks for the tree to shed all of its leaves but eventually it would be completely bare and there it would stand – naked yet still magnificent.

However, it’s work wasn’t quite done as the teachers would dangle old CD’s and other sensory paraphernalia from it’s boughs and it would come alive again, if only until home-time.

I loved that tree apart from the mornings when it was throwing it down with rain and then I’d whinge about having to clean those ‘sodding leaves up’.

These days I can find my autumn in the local woods where there are hundreds of magnificent old trees all competing for the best in show. I often stand there (waiting for the dog to have a crap) watching as millions of leaves dance around as they fall to the floor. I tried to take a picture of it once but couldn’t do it justice. Some things just have to be experienced, don’t they?

Autumn is my favourite season. It’s the final smile of the year before winter sets in with it’s slippery pavements and wintry winds. *groans*

Through the trees comes autumn with her serenade.
Melodies the sweetest music ever played.

~ John Coltrane – Autumn Serenade

Image Via Creative Commons

mumturnedmom

 

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8 thoughts on “Autumn Serenade

  1. I love the idea of autumn as ‘the final smile of the year’, what a beautiful image! I also love the way you’ve taken a single tree and followed its life – such a clever way to show the passing seasons.

  2. Never mind autumn being the final smile, this post has left a huge smile on my face. I do love autumn and I can spend a long time watching the leaves (although the falling of them causes my husband to go a bit nuts as he has to clean them all up!). I love how you’ve described the tree throughout the year too though, trees are amazing, aren’t they?! Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt x

  3. Lovely blog AGAIN Tracy….even with your potty mouth😜. As I grow older I appreciate nature and all it’s glories and autumn never disappoints. I remember a long while back Loose Women was on TV and Colleen Nolan said that it was her favourite season as it always does what it says on the box. How true this is, summer can be wet and windy, winter can be damp or sunny but in autumn Mother Nature turns the trees the most glorious colours before letting them fall to the floor. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hot sunny summers day but is there anything more comforting than the wind blowing, falling leaves, darker nights, heating on (let’s not worry about the heating bill) and candles flickering.
    If there is any justice in life, you will never slip over on slippery soggy leaves on the pavements……..you should have won school caretaker of the yearπŸ†
    Big loves and a wave to Auntie Margs 😘
    πŸŒΎπŸƒπŸπŸ‚πŸŒΏxxxx

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