Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why I Like to Rake Leaves

Now the leaves are starting to change color and fall from the trees as the seasons shift once again. I like this time of year. The warm yet cool days with just the right nip in the air. The crunch of the fallen leaves under my feet.

Of course it means the cold of winter is closing in. I dread the snowy days ahead. At least for now though I get to enjoy the pleasures of fall. The beautiful foliage, the pumpkins and apple cider, and of course, raking leaves.

Raking leaves? That may not sound like a fun time, but I actually enjoy this particular chore. I always have.

At this time of year, when the temperatures become a lot cooler, the thing I most look forward to is grabbing my rake and some trash bags and heading outside. Partly because it brings to mind the happy childhood memory of jumping into a big pile of raked leaves and lying there surrounded by the aroma of autumn. Then tossing handfuls of leaves into the air and watching them fall around.

Having MS has given me a whole new reason to like raking leaves -because to me it represents physical capability. Everyone I know is always amazed that I actually do things like this. Well, why not? I can do them, so there is no reason not to. I enjoy it and it's good exercise, which I need.

So what if they think I should get someone else to do it because I am 'disabled'?

I hate the word 'disabled' sometimes. I am able. I have abilities. Why do I have to be considered disabled? Raking leaves is an ability. For me it is also a joy.

So what if after a short time I get tired and have to sit down? Or by the time I'm done for the day (which is probably after about half an hour) I'm using the rake as a support as I slowly make my way back into the house?

I don't have the endurance I used to. I accept that. You work with what you've got in life.

It's not about productivity for me. The task of raking leaves represents capabilities and hope. All those dead leaves could represent challenges and problems that life throws at us. Being capable of raking the leaves also makes me hopeful that I am capable of overcoming those problems and making positive changes in my life.

For me the change of the seasons as the year comes to a close is always a time of positive energy. Autumn and winter cover up all the things that have gone wrong during the year and all the bad feelings. They bring about a time to look forward as they pave the way for the renewal of spring and the hope that the coming year will be better.

Meanwhile, I'll enjoy raking the leaves. But when it comes time to shovel snow, I'll definitely have to call in some reinforcements.

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