If you are a parent and live close to at least a tree or two, chances are you have participated in some of the greatest autumn rituals known to mankind.
I’m talking about burying the baby in a big old pile of freshly raked leaves!
Or watching your toddlers getting a running start for a majestic leap into the heap on the front lawn!
It’s a tradition as old as the wind and kind of indebted to it, too.
See, as moms and dads with rakes and digital cameras, we are forever at the mercy of a very very strong natural urge to scoop up our babes and deposit his or her tiny body in that crunchy mountain of goodness whenever the chance presents itself.
Then, later on, we encourage our kids to get in there and roll around and toss leaves up in the air, because we remember how awesome it was when we were that age.
That’s the kind of memories that a leaf pile is equipped with if you’re willing to just hurl yourself at it.
Pictures of our youngsters flopping around or buried up to their teeny eyeballs in a grand pile of gold and red and orange and yellow fall leaves are some of the best we will ever take. You can be sitting there, clicking rapid-fire through some friend’s newly posted Flickr shots of their kids and you might be bored out of your proverbial skull, BUT…if you come across the legendary baby-in-the-leaves, or an action shot of a couple of 6 year-olds all charged up on autumn glory, well, let’s just say it’s a whole different story then.
So, in the spirit of the season, let’s have some of that fantastic kids-in-the leaf-pile-action…right here, right now.
Smiles 1 of 19If you want to make a kid smile, show 'em a big old pile of fallen leaves and tell them to have at it.
A Gentle Reminder 2 of 19Autumn leaves are like a gentle reminder that, sure summer is gone and all, but there is still PLENTY of fun to be had out there in the world.
Our Father’s Leaves 3 of 19Jumping into a pile of leaves is a very old tradition for kids everywhere. Our dads did it, and their dads did too.
Just A Couple Of Trees 4 of 19You don't have to live on a farm or in the country to be able to play in the fallen leaves. All you need is a tree or two...and a mom or dad who is ready to watch you jump on in!
The More, The Merrier 5 of 19Even though dad might kind of curse the leaves under his breath, kids rejoice when big trees dump a lot of them right in the front yard.
Group Fun! 6 of 19Show a couple of youngsters toward the local leaf pile, and you are going to have to drag them away from it when it's time to go inside.
Happily Buried 7 of 19There is nothing quite as sensational as the feeling of being buried underneath a billion crackling leaves.
Energy Burner 8 of 19Of course, for us parents, watching our kids playing in the leaves is a guarantee that they will sleep real real good tonight.
Laughter On The Lawn 9 of 19Something about climbing all up into a heap of leaves makes kids giggle and crack up. And kids know a good thing when they see it.
Grab a Handful! 10 of 19For kids, part of having a blast in the autumn leaves is picking up big scoops of them with their tiny hands. Those things are begging to be flung up into the sky, and kids are happy to oblige.
Picture Perfect 11 of 19If you don't have any photos of your little ones in a pile of freshly raked up leaves, shame on you! But chances are...you have a hundred of them.
The Fountain of Youth 12 of 19Kids of all ages love leaves and the games you can play in them. In a way, a pile of leaves is like The Fountain of Youth...age is irrelevant.
Perfect Running Start 13 of 19Getting that perfect running start is every kid's desire when they are headed towards a leap and a fall.
That Magic Crunching 14 of 19The sound of leaves crunching beneath a kid's feet as he or she runs through them is a sound they will remember forever and return to year after year. Even when they have kids of their own.
In Our Hair and Everywhere! 15 of 19A big part of playing in the leaves as children is getting them in our hair, and feeling them itching us down our shirts and sweaters. It's just part of the whole experience.
But Once A Year 16 of 19Because leaves only fall once a year, the act of playing in them with our friends and family is that much more special.
Flying 17 of 19Kids all wish they could fly at some point. And jumping into a mountain of leaves sort of lets them do that for just a little while, huh?
Work, Work, Work 18 of 19Of course, for mom and dad, there is a lot of work to be done when it comes to all those leaves out there. And sometimes, kids are into helping out with that, too. (There's my little girl again!)
‘Til Next Year 19 of 19So get out there and rake 'em up, folks! But before you stick them in the bags and get rid of them forever, let your kids have a ball. Heck, you might even find yourself jumping in a big old pile yourself...just like you did a long long time ago.