For me, one of the great pleasures of late autumn / early winter is scuffing up leaves. Feet clad in hiking boots or wellies, I head out to those areas of park or woodland where the deciduous trees are at their most dense, and I look for the deepest drifts of leaves I can find. And I walk and I kick and I scuff those leaves up, producing little showers of orange and red and gold as the crispy leaves rustle and scrunch and flutter back down to the ground.
I feel sorry for those grumpy adults who frown in my direction, their stern looks chastising me for such undignified behaviour. How sad they are to live such a restricted life, to have forgotten the simple – and free! – pleasure of kicking up a few leaves.
As the winter weather slowly morphs the fallen leaves into a dreary brown sludge, I continue to scuff when I can because those leaves now contain the worms and woodlice and grubs the little birds love to eat. And, if I’m lucky, my scuffing efforts will be rewarded by the sweet serenade of a robin, full-bellied and happy from its snacking.