When the leaves fall, our treed back yard becomes suddenly illuminated. Without the shade of all of the leaves on the trees, the bright sunshine can beam down and light up all of those leaves that have fallen on the ground and somehow managed to land mostly in the pathetic wisps of grass we call our backyard. As if they can aim.
Most people dread the season of leaf removal, but what I dread most is the argument my husband and I have every year. He is practical and smart and efficient and handy, and I am stubborn and old fashioned and traditional and stubborn. (Yes, I said that twice.) When the leaves hit the ground, he fires up the leaf blower and I grab the rake and both of us can’t comprehend the other person’s tool of choice.
He doesn’t understand why I like to rake. He tells me it’s not an effective way to clean the leaves, that it takes too long and that it’s just plan stupid to kill your back and arms when you can stand in one place with this powerful blowing machine that creates torrents of wind that push leaves in any direction you choose. He says there is also less chance of stepping in remnants of dogs and no bending over to unclog the twigs and leaves that get jammed up at the bottom of the tines. No blisters, splinters, or pulled muscles that make you walk around like you’re 105 years old.
I don’t understand why he likes to use the leaf blower. It’s extremely loud and spews its annoying sound throughout the entire neighborhood so that everyone can enjoy having to scream in order to communicate. You can’t hear the birds. The user of it ends up smelling like exhaust and has to change clothes and shower if he or she doesn’t want to stink and be allowed in my house which then leads to extra laundry. Leaf blowers are heavy. Your hands go numb from the vibrations. And the worst of the worst, you don’t get that satisfied feeling of an aching back and blisters when you’re all done.
So, like any good couple with the best of intentions, we fight about it and then take turns. Being the sensible one, he quickly blows clear the lawn while I hide inside and close all of the doors and windows and complain about the noise. But with the next drop of the leaves, I rush outside and spend most of my day raking and raking and listening to myself talk to the singing birds, pulling doggie surprises from the tines of the rake and thinking about how much I have accomplished when it’s all done.
I celebrate my stubborn accomplishment with hand lotion and Ibuprofen.
Originally written 11.13.16