A Pile of Leaves

There was a pile of leaves sitting to the side of the yard, where it had sat for 8 months, waiting to be bagged. Orin had done the raking in November, just before the first snowstorm. He had set his rake down after a long day, intending to come back the next day to finish the job, but the first storm came that night, and he didn’t have the energy to dig out the leaves only to throw them away.

Winter clung on until May, and spring was short-lived and hectic. Orin had to fly to his mother out east, then catch up on work, deal with his failing marriage, and the pile of leaves kept sitting there, waiting. He looked out at them every morning while he sipped his coffee, thinking he should probably go deal with them, but then not doing so. Tonight, he would think to himself.

Except tonight was always a late return home, usually in the last minutes of sun, and though there was still enough light to see leaves by, at least to bag a few, Orin didn’t have the energy. So the pile remained, slowly decomposing in the corner by the fence.

It wasn’t until the next November that he actually did something with them. Rather than remove them, he piled more leaves in the spot – about half of those he raked. He left them there, all winter, to slowly compress with the others underneath, to rot, and turn to soil. In the spring, he went to a bait shop, bought a large handful of earthworms, and tossed them in. By that fall, the leaves were soil, which he then spread into planters he built on the sides of his yard, planting a few cloves of garlic, some bulbs, and making plans for the next spring. He finished the year by again raking his leaves – all of them, this time – to the corner, and fencing them off with some chicken wire so they wouldn’t blow into the neighbour’s yard, or all over his. They would stay there, to rot and become useful again.

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