South Dakota winds make tiny airplanes out of each one, as gusts of the autumn breeze send them out of our yard onto the neighbor's lawn.
Rakes mysteriously appear from out of nowhere as folks hasten to keep the leaves from piling up to hide the grass which is still sort of green.
Some rakers mumble unprintable words under their breath as they go about their fall chore, wondering why the trees have to shed when they could be watching football on television.
Others take great delight in making huge piles of leaves for the kids to jump in, which makes everybody laugh. We used to burn each heaped-up mass, and the pungent odor would tell us that autumn was here. But that's a no-no now because of global warming and other reasons.
Burning leaves is nostalgic for older people, but the newer generations have been denied the smell of the smoke which once dominated the entire town.
Leaves decorated everything, especially from maple or oak trees. They were pressed in books, messing up the pages and providing colorful keepsakes of another fall.
Trips were planned to New England "to see the colors," forgetting, of course, that reds and yellows and golden browns were available closer to home.
When Ezra Pound wrote "The leaves fall early this autumn," he was prophesying South Dakota in 2007. Already there are bare trees suddenly prepared for winter.
Soon the birch tree in our backyard will be barren and allow us to see the neighbors – and the fence that needs painting. There's a downside to everything, it seems.
Before long the trees will be like stark skeletons, signaling that the cold season is upon us. No leaves! No birds! No nothing!
Even when he was a tiny tyke, Grandson Sam told Phyllis that he liked it when the leaves were gone "because then you could see the real beautiful shape of the trees." He loved to see branches, and you couldn't tell where they were when they were all covered up with leaves!
Phyllis and I talked about the topic I'm writing about in this column, and pretty soon she was singing The Autumn Leaves … Then we had an argument about who first recorded that song, so she went to the computer and Googled it up.
Of course I was wrong, which is par for the course. The computer said my choice had never sung the song; she didn't get it right either, so there, too!!
I could have sworn I was right, but I let her win that one.
After all, I had a column to write, and I couldn't care less that it was apparently Yves Montand who was the first one to sing the Johnny Mercer tune (in French yet).
Nevertheless, it was a good way to end my weekly stint about the leaves that fall from the trees these days.
� 2007 Robert F. Karolevitz