Of Elephants and Autumn Leaves

John King

I love a good elephant joke, though considering the current plight of the poor pachyderm very soon there might only be the jokes left. (and that’s no joke)

So, here is the first elephant joke:

Q) How does an elephant get into a cherry tree?

A) He sits on seed (or a stone) and waits for Spring.

Second joke:

Q) How does an elephant hide in a cherry tree?

A) He paints his toe nails (or his testicles, red)

In reference to the last testicular joke

Q) What is the worst sound in the jungle?

A) Birds eating cherries.

And finally …

Q) How does an elephant get down from a cherry tree?

A) He sits on a leaf and waits for Autumn .

I only say this because we are in that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness when leaves casacade gently down from my cherry trees and lie in thick golden carpet, all over my garden. Presuing that there are indeed elephants in my cherry trees, that is a lot of elephants, and I am not sure that I have the time or the inclination to gather them all up. YES, I have one of those leaf blowing/sucking/shredding machines, that make the work of gathering fallen leaves no more difficult or arduous than vacuuming; YET; I am just too damn lazy to get out in the garden and … I will therefore beg the ELEPHANT EXCUSE.

Firstly my blower/shedder machine cannot cope with elephants. For sure this nifty garden gadget has all weight and appearance of a small piece of artillery, but is not quite the right size to suck up and shred a fully grown elephant, BESIDES, I would not want to shred an elephant!

Secondly, I quite like the idea of having a garden full of elephants.

Thirdly, unless the leaves/elephants are completely dry, the machine has trouble churning them up into convenient compost friendly mash. Three or four blasts of wet leaves and the machine clogs up. Imagine what would happen with even the smallest wet elephant

So, normally by this time of year, I would have spent long and futile hours in the garden, gathering and shredding leaves/elephants, to bag up and put on my compost heap. I say “futile” because, no sooner have you cleared up one load of leaves, there are just as many that cascade down the next day, meaning that if you are “garden tidy” and “neighbour conscious”, you are back out in the garden, gathering up leaves.

This year, (to the chagrin of my neighbours) I have decided to be a nonchalant gardener and gather up my leaves at the end of Autumn.

In elephant terms, this means I should have so may elephants piling up in my front garden, that I cannot even get out the front gate, let alone get the car in the driveway, but you know, with the occasional autumn breeze, all these elephants just tend to blow away – they float off indifferently down the street never to return. I only hope they make it to somewhere ultimately elephant friendly. Of course my garden is very elephant friendly, and any errant pachyderm is welcome to snuggle down in my piles of leaves and gently snooze through winter, and then, come spring, sit on a cherry stone once again to up into my cherry trees.

Elephants or not, I usually leave large piles of leaves at strategic points around the garden – this is for the hedgehogs. They have their “favourite” places in my garden where they like nestle down amongst the leaves, and hibernate.

By now, you must think that I am either slightly mad, or simply looking for a feeble excuse not to do my annual leaf duty. Well can anyone prove that there are not elephants in my cherry trees? Thanks to their toenail/testicular camouflage, they are very well hidden. One might have thought that I should have bumped into an elephant or two, whilst picking cherries back in june, I can assure you though, that not only are they well hidden, they are very discreet.

Of course, this leaves one question unanswered. Why would elephants want to get up into cherry trees in the fist place?

Obviously, my cherry trees are currently a far safer place for elephants to live than their other traditional habitats.

And (honestly) I was going out to gather up elephants after writing this post, but it is raining.