To get to the newsroom, they have to travel up two steps, through two sets of heavy glass doors, up a staircase, and then either onto an elevator or up six more flights of stairs. At some times of day they would also have to punch a security code.
The evidence shows they take both routes. There are leaves inside the elevator, and just outside the elevator on every floor. There are leaves all the way up the stairs. (They must stop and get still when they hear people coming.)
I don’t know why it always makes me happy. Partly it’s just the way certain things keep coming back around every year: crocuses and daffodils emerging in spring, ice cream trucks singing and luring in summer, leaves reddening and falling in fall, my friend Jennifer’s annual mailing of the fruitcake in winter. And partly nature winning, every year, but not being a bad sport about it.
So. Ten more swell things about autumn leaves.
- Their colors. On the trees, on the ground, in the ephemeral art of Andy Goldsworthy.
- Their reassemblage into carpets, which gives the auditory and tactile joys of scuffling through them and crunching them underfoot.
- Having a season named for what they do. (I’m pretty sure that’s how fall got one of its names, anyway. I’m not going to look it up, because I don’t want to find out I’m wrong about this.)
- Their good manners as table guests, in bouquets that last long and never need watering.
- Their grace under pressure when pressed inside a book, holding their color until found again, weeks or months or years later.
- Their willingness to be raked into a pile and jumped on.
- Their civil disobedience in refusing to be corralled by backpack leafblowers. (They thought we’d be putting that technology to better use in jetpacks by now.)
- Their midlife career changes into mulch or compost.
- Their inspirations of literature. Like this poem, which is old to me but the first that comes to mind, and this one, which is new to me.
- Their amiable parting from their trees, declining food when they know the cupboard’s gone bare, departing under their own weight or the hitch of the wind, leaving behind a tiny scar that the tree can heal itself.