The orange and red leaves flew around Jessie’s head as she pranced back and forth between the piles of sugar maple leaves. Santa, Molly and Jessie were spending time with Molly’s sister who had a huge backyard with plenty of trees. Earlier in the day Santa had spent the morning raking the leaves into huge piles. After lunch Santa let Jessie out in the backyard to explore and then went to the front yard to rake more leaves.
At first Jessie had ignored the piles of color. But when she had explored all of the corners of the lot she turned her attention to the first leaf pile she saw. She stepped onto the edge of the pile and heard a crinkly noise coming from beneath her feet. Then, when she went closer, the leaves gave way under her feet cushioning her body. Jessie wagged her tail and hurried into the pile. The leaves flew out behind her with a satisfying whoosh. Jessie picked another pile and then another. Pretty soon a carpet of color was strewn across the lawn before her. She was still zooming around the backyard when Santa came around the corner of the house.
Santa dropped his rake and a pile of leaf bags he held, He stood silently for awhile and then began to shake his head. He sighed and started raking the leaves once more. “Jessie, be still!’ Santa called.
Jessie came to an abrupt halt. Looked carefully at Santa, lowered her front haunches and raised her rear end in the air with her tail pointing towards the sky. Then, suddenly, she ran towards the pile Santa was raking. she ran straight through the other side spaying leaves in all directions. Jessie stopped, wagged her tail and ran towards the pile again.
“Jessie, stop it!” This time Santa’s voice was sharp.
The dog immediately lowered her ears and head. she timidly approached Santa and lay down before the man with her head in her paws and her eyes averted.
Santa dropped his rake and sighed again. He crouched down and pulled the dog’s eyes up so that they looked into his own. He smiled and stroked the dog’s head. Jessie had been having more fun that he had seen her have in months. Santa bit his lip and looked at the leaves strewn before him. He felt the texture of a red maple leaf below him and them slammed his hand down on the leaf. It let out a satisfying crunch. Santa picked up a pile of leaves. He stood up and threw the leaves high in the air above the dog’s head.
Jessie jumped up, yipped excitedly and ran under the leaves with glee.
Santa grinned. If Jessie could find joy in the autumn colors than surely he could. He picked up another handful and threw them even higher than before.
Jessie once again zoomed through them. Santa and Jessie repeated the game for so long that Molly came looking for them. When she saw the pair she smiled and chuckled. Santa was like a child around the dog and she was grateful he had the diversion. Her husband worked much too hard all year and the dog was teaching him that it was okay to take a break. The leaves could always be raked tomorrow but for now let them have their fun.
Molly walked towards the kitchen leaving Santa and Jessie in the yard. The pair continued to run and jump until the edges of an orange sunset bid them inside after a day of smiles and laughter.