There are plenty of elms and other trees in our neighbourhood, but the leaves from oak trees are special, in my opinion.
Their size and shape and the way they curl as they dry makes them the ideal material for leaf piles that prevent jumpers from hitting the ground too hard. And it doesn't take as many oak leaves as other, smaller leaves to get a really good-sized pile. 15 minutes of raking is all I need!
Three autumns ago, I was out cleaning up around our oak tree, forming a huge mound of leaves from the ones scattered across our and our neighbours' lawn, when I spied a young mom and her three little ones walking through the area park across the street. I called to them, and introduced myself, explaining to the little ones that my three little girls were all grown up and I had no one to play in and crunch down my leaf piles anymore. Every year since, Zoe, Isabel and Sara have "helped me out" by jumping in my leaves.
Autumn leaves are meant to be enjoyed, and my little neighbours definitely enjoy them! They came over on Saturday evening with their parents and had a pretty good time diving into the pile, throwing leaves around, and though I wasn't able to stay and watch very long, I'm guessing that maybe they even buried each other like my sisters and I used to, like my kids did. I wish I had been able to join them. It's fun to rise from a leafy grave, as long as no one jumps on top of you! When the kids were finished, their mom or dad raked a somewhat smaller, flatter pile back together, and I imagine every piece of the kids' clothing needed to be shaken out before they went indoors.
I've said it before, and I'll say it until I die: occasionally it's good to indulge the child that still lives within. Play is good for the soul. Wanna come jump in my leaf pile with me?