The air has grown colder and now carries with it falling leaves and the aroma of chimney smoke and an intangible, yet unmistakably autumn crispness. The trees surrounding our house and the lake have burst into gold and crimson flames one by one. The main holdouts seem to be the massive oak tree in the front yard and all the white pine trees, of course.
We received a note from the landlord informing us we can't just let the leaves lay around on the ground; we have to remove them. I've been finding the leaves piling up around the driveway rather charming, as they flutter and crunch as we drive in and out. In Los Angeles, leaves are systematically removed by an army of gardeners carrying leaf blowers. Even if you didn't employ a gardener, I think the city would just send them around to blow away your leaves. Here, the leaves are going to keep falling for at least another month. So I'll either be outside raking every day, or we're going to have to fly in a leaf-blowing battalion from Los Angeles.
Nature requires a lot of attention. Yesterday, we discovered a fat, puffy little robin hanging out on our balcony, hopping around and ruffling his feathers. Our best guess was that he flew into the window and bonked his head or something. He didn't seem injured, just disoriented. Nonetheless, I became fairly obsessed with his well-being for the rest of the day. This is another reason I like to keep nature at a distance. Sooner or later, it shows up injured and wants you to put it out of its misery.
Michael offered him a pile of birdseed, but the robin chose to sit in the corner of the balcony and enjoy the view of the lake. We had a nice breeze yesterday, so the fall colors of the trees reflected beautifully in the rippling waters below. So maybe he just needed to take a break and enjoy nature from the human perspective. I should have offered him a cocktail, which is how I view the world most of the time.
I checked on him every few minutes over the course of the afternoon yesterday, each time dreading the scenario playing out in my head. What if we have to take him to the vet? Will they laugh at us? Do people living so close to nature have some nonchalant method for executing wounded animals? I was nearing a fever pitch of worry when I looked out again and he was gone. I had told Michael, hopefully, that maybe he was just disoriented and would fly off when he felt better, not really believing with I was saying. But, for once, my false optimism came to fruition!
I suppose I need to put some sort of sign up on the sliding glass door to prevent future collisions: "Please don't crash here. We're from L.A." Or maybe I'll just bring all the falling leaves up to the balcony to create a big soft landing pad for wayward birds, thus solving both the leaf problem and the bird problem all at once.