Rejoice, for Autumn is here once again! A majestic time…a time of golden leaves tumbling in the wind, a time of magic, prosperity, and simple pleasures like walking over rustling leaves (and if you’re really daring, taking a proper run-up and kicking a carefully collected pile of said leaves all over the place just for the sheer hell of it – something which has to be timed properly if you live in a village like me, less a nosy old lady sees you and starts a rumour that there is a 30 year-old bearded hooligan on the prowl…).
Actually don’t rejoice. And don’t even ponder walking over rustling leaves, even less kicking them in a moment of childish pleasure. How can you when everywhere you go, the unfair victimization of leaves is taking place and there are no leaves to be found in any great number, like back in the good old days? At one time, for a period of many hundreds of thousands of years, leaves were allowed to fall wherever nature intended, bringing happiness and colour to the lives of people all over the place. But not so now — at least, apart from a few isolated and untouched path-ways, like the one I trod this morning on the way back from the Post Office. Now, leaves are seen by many bone-headed spoilsports as a natural enemy: a menacing force of nature that must be kept in check through whatever means are necessary.
And please don’t give me any of the following excuses for why leaves need to be kept in check, because they won’t wash with me or any of my pro-leaf posse.
1) Leaves become slippery when wet, causing a health & safety hazard to people with dodgy legs or dodgy eyes, or even people who don’t always look where they are going: ancient hepatitis-carrying 2 pence pieces are also very much a health & safety hazard, don’t you think? It goes without saying you can’t easily trip up on them, of course – unless you happen to be wading across an oil spill where a lorry transporting tons of lethal pennies has recently crashed – but hepatitis, which causes swelling and inflammation of the Liver, is still awful, just look at Mick Hucknall’s face, where his Liver is located. Actually I just made that up. There’s nothing medically wrong with Mick Hucknall’s face, and as far as I know it his Liver is ginger but fine. Aside from that, people with dodgy legs and dodgy eyes should avoid leaves or face the consequences. Or at the very least tell the people they are with to steer them away from them. As for people who don’t look where they are going, if I was a meaner person I might say something here about hepatitis and who deserves to get it, but I won’t, because I’m nicer than that.
2) I own a business and every single Autumn, the leaves fall on the pavement outside it and make it troublesome for customers to make it to the front door without falling over and breaking a leg or an arm and suing us: grow up! How old are you, five? Actually forget I said that — I know five-year-olds who would kick you in the shins if you even suggested that you were like them. The point, if you still need telling, is that the leaves were there long before you. Just go and find a premise’s where there are no trees around for miles, will you? It’s a good job trees don’t get the hump with people and say “I tell you what, we’re sick of all our leaves being stolen, we’re not going to be the lungs of the planet anymore!”
3) Leaves make driving difficult: so does the rising price of oil, suicidal squirrels and the Great British phenomenon of suspension-killing pot-holes.
4) Only dull-coloured leaves fall where I live. If they were a brighter and more Autumnal colour like in the movies I might smile and feel happy when Autumn arrives. I might never have become the leaf-averted person I am to this day. Things would have been different, I’m sure of it: I suggest you take this up with the people responsible for planting trees in your area many generations ago. Except they will be long dead, so you’re better off writing a letter to their descendants, who will no doubt be so used to receiving such letters that they already have a letter ready to send back to you. Failing that, a psychologist might come in handy. Or just a lot of LSD.
And now we’re on the subject of people who have an aversion to leaves and feel the need to blast them away with those ridiculous blowing-machine-things – or even worse, those who hire small armies of organized, like-minded buffoons who callously spend their days staring at the ground like it might at any moment rise up and spit on them – another thing has occurred to me: the name leaves, as in leaves us alone, or leaf me be! You’d have thought, really, that with this word and these messages now being embedded in the consciousness of society, the last thing anybody would want to do is remove our amazing autumnal gift.
For me, and maybe it is just me, if you take leaves away that’s like pretending that Autumn doesn’t really exist. Why not just stick with picking on Winter instead? We all know that’s the real culprit.