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Leaf Litter

We are surrounded by trees here – beech, ash, laburnum, apple.  In the Spring and Summer they look magnificent – dark and light greens, purple and deep rich brown. Through the Autumn as the reds and yellows throw off a final glorious hue, and a few leaves begin to fall, we watch as the year slips away and the bare naked trees remain to bear the brunt of Winter.

Through the long dark days and nights we wait, before Spring begins again and the leaf litter that has accumulated since the last gathering in Autumn nags at my conscience and urges me to clear it away. I frown, I make a plan but the weeks slip by.

The weather has been so awful and the long dark days have hidden the mounting pile until now. The clean bright white light we have enjoyed these last few days has delivered a sense of hope and anticipation, waiting for colour, life and vitality to herald the longer days. It is still very cold but there have been patches of heat in the direct sun and I have hung my first load of washing on the line.

This morning I picked away at the leaf litter that had tucked itself in amongst the azalea and fuchsias and untagged some loose leaves woven in amongst the long spiny grasses. I wore thick black rubber gloves to do this, anxious not to damage any new shoots, my hands slowly warming as I moved between the flower bed and the brown garden waste bin.

I found spindly flaccid white shoots, lurking under the wet leaves. They have been exposed now and can become green and grow tall and proud, offering themselves to the perpetual  life cycle and beckoning the insects to feast on their unique sweet nectar.

I climbed the ladder and unpicked the matted leaves from the gutters so that when the rain returns it can leave swiftly causing no lasting damage to downpipes and the roof.

I have enjoyed watching the increased activity at the bird feeder, since He manipulated the stand in order to prevent the greedy squirrel from devouring what should be a fine feathery feast.

I found some bulbs in the garage that I must have lifted last year and the empty pots by the back door are ready to receive and give us a new outlook from the kitchen.

Leaf litter – a poem

Tight buds, uncurling, unfurling slowly reaching out,

hidden gems snaking upwards, reach for the light.

Photosynthesis and reproduction can begin again

in the warmth of the Spring, now at Winter’s end.

Dense damp leaf litter, created a warm cover

but now is removed, so that life can start over.

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