This morning I was raking ginkgo leaves when the heavens, a gray lid leaking a deceptively dry rain, opened and an angel sashayed forth in quite a bit of splendor. The angel, in a unisex leotard, alit on the branch of the rubber tree and bent down. I was, quite humanly, all astonishment but the angel beckoned so I approached. Like a magician’s trick, a gold medal appeared in the angel’s hand. Inscribed on the medal was the letter Q. “This is for you,” the angel said handing it over. Before I could admit my confusion, the angel said, “We in the celestial ranks acknowledge that you have just raked your quintillionth leaf.”
I don’t believe you, I hear you, good reader, protest. Show me the medal. Like Joseph Smith and his golden tablets, I’m afraid I can’t. Somehow it must have gotten swept up with the leaves into the recycling bin; same size, same color. I am naturally distraught, though I assure you I had no intention of starting a new religion or taking up polygamy. But not all is for naught. I have been gifted with the knowledge that in a world on fire, there are worse things to do than raking damp leaves on a drippy day, especially if you get occasional recognition for your persistence.