Los Angeles Times

Musings on fall mornings, leaf blowers and my big fat geek wedding

- CHRIS ERSKINE chris.erskine@latimes.com Twitter: @erskinetim­es

We are enjoying one of those crisp, pumpkins-on-the-porch October mornings, enhanced by the leaf blower next door, crazy loud. As we speak, it is blasting my neighbor’s crud under the fence and into my crud.

I try to protect my crud, so this alarms me, this blasting of alien crud into the crunchy seasonal flora of my own precious patio.

But if you’re going to live in a big city, you have to learn to be a little Zen about such things: the noise, the traffic, the way no one – family, bosses, bartenders — looks you in the eye.

Zen Lutheranis­m. I recommend it to everyone.

I made a crack about Lutheran weddings last week, which riled some folks from Iowa, where I once lived — not particular­ly well, and I was always wind-chapped, but I actually lived there, if that’s what you call living. Gawd, it was awful. Anyway, a reader said I misreprese­nted Lutheran weddings when I labeled them “leaden.” I speak from experience, since I’ve attended many Lutheran weddings, including my own, where I blacked out during the second act — my bride, Posh, scripted it like a three-act Sondheim musical. But then I rallied in the last act to save the show.

The audience, many of them Lutherans, really loved my geeky performanc­e.

“Bravo,” one of them yawned. There was even scattered clapping.

What I’m saying is that I’ve seen my share of Lutheran weddings, and they are always glorious celebratio­ns. Yet, like all weddings, they can be a little leaden at times — especially when the groom blacks out in a pivotal part of the second act.

Last week, I also made a wisecrack about Dubuque, which I feel worse about, because as the reader pointed out, a drive along the Mississipp­i River at this time of year would be a rolling and romantic journey. Besides, back there folks actually look you in the eye.

It wouldn’t justify going all the way to Iowa. I mean, get a grip. Try to summon your Zen Lutheranis­m, which is a decaf version of traditiona­l Buddhist philosophy.

So far, my newfound Zen Lutheranis­m fits me pretty well, and I now make the most of my days and nights, not letting life’s little leaf blowers upset me.

Because here I sit, in the backyard on what I’d rate as the most perfect October day in the history of all Octobers. The winds howled the day before, but this day is still and the birds are celebratin­g by gobbling the fermenting berries. In the air, the first little tingles of another outstandin­g autumn.

As F. Scott said: “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

I’m such a sucker for this busy season.

I’m just a sucker generally, but especially for fall, when I begin to collect seeds and nuts for the long winter nights. I also stash a little grain alcohol in my nest, because you never know when the snows might hit.

In the wacky era of modern weather, I predict L.A. gets a significan­t snow this winter.

I hope the TV weather teams are prepped, because you know how they get. It rains half an inch and they break into “Special Report” coverage usually reserved for world wars.

It’s as if the moon has gone missing.

When it snows this winter, you might see Fritz Coleman’s head actually explode … full coverage at 11!

In preparatio­n, we’re having a new roof put on soon at the Little House on the Prairie, so you can just imagine the level of excitement over that.

“A new roof?” asks our daughter Rapunzel. “You didn’t notice all the leaks?” “What leaks?” she says, looking up at the ceiling. “Mars is in retrograde, you know.”

So maybe we’re not having a new roof put on. Now I can’t decide.

That’s the thing about Zen Lutheranis­m, it mellows you maybe too much. Nothing gets to you, nothing registers. What, me worry? I just keep celebratin­g fall, despite the reasons not to — the leaf blowers, the indifferen­t neighbors, the chainsaw down the street.

You think L.A. gardeners are aggressive, you should see the tree crews.

Like swarms of dentists, they can drill through a grove of 70-year-old eucalyptus­es in a single day, leaving stubby nubs, in lieu of what were once beautiful trees.

By the way, when the gunk was storming under the fence this morning, I told the little guy that I was going to get out our own leaf blower and send the gunk swirling back into the neighbor’s yard. Fortunatel­y, he was more Zen about it than I was.

“Dad, take the highway,” he suggested.

“You mean the high road?” I asked.

“No, the highway,” he said. “It’s faster.”

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