“Hello, hello, hello, how low. Hello, hello, hello.”

Cold, warm, cold, cold, warm—the weather has been following a weird pattern this Fall. I’m not exactly complaining, as I do enjoy the sixty-six degree weather today, but I feel meteorologically confused by the flux in temperatures.

Halloween has come and gone, a dining room table full of Snickers serves as a reminder. We decide to work in the yard today, removing decorations of ghosts and scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns. My wife has disappeared. I am guessing that she’s slipped away to her afternoon nap time.

While I scalp the grass with the mower, on a last-grass-cutting-of-the-year setting, the barefoot children are in the front yard, raking leaves. Like I said, weird patterns.

Under the half-naked maple, a leaf-based Tower of Babel is constructed. With a height of three or four feet and equally impressive circumference, they are planning something big. The pile is positioned under the low-hanging branch, and (of course) I know what they have in mind.

In many ways, they are no longer children, yet they are still children. Explained: they wish to have the independence of the teen years, but still find pleasure in the simple things of life, like jumping into a giant pile of leaves. They are not kids, yet kids.

They have stirred up the underlying bed of wet leaves that has begun to decay in the last few weeks. Who could have guessed the scent of death could be so fragrant?

With the lights out, it’s less dangerous / Here we are now, entertain us / I feel stupid and contagious / Here we are now, entertain us ~ Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

All three of the kids are in the tree, perched above the massive mound of fallen leaves. Like paratroopers they file, one after another, off the limb and into the pile below—with gusto and bravado that only a teenager could muster. At this moment, I wish that I were a teenager as well—I’d even settle with being twelve again—with the energy to climb and spring from tree branches. I’m slightly jealous and envious.

Five or ten years from now, I will look back on these days with fondness, as I know this period of their lives will not last for much longer.

“Hello, hello, hello, how low. Hello, hello, hello.”