Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why I rake

I've seen a fair amount of discourse out there about how raking is silly, how Mother Nature intends for the leaves to stay there on the ground and decompose and enrich the soil.  I totally get that.  I do. But I am married to a gardener, and she has plans for our backyard, the hardwoods out there be damned. So it has been ordained that our backyard will be raked, and for the sake of marital accord and household harmony, I participate.

But, you might ask, why not just blow the suckers?  So much easier.  I expect you know the answers to that question. First, and foremost, leaf blowers are noisy, and spew emissions.  Perhaps just as importantly, if I let a machine do the work, that means it's work my body is not doing.  Right now I'm in from a good solid hour of raking, and I can totally feel it in my back and arms and lateral abs or whatever those damned muscles around the side of my body are.  They just got a little workout, and are sore, and the sleep I sleep post-raking has a special quality.

And then there is the social aspect of raking.  If you are using a leaf-blower, people just pass right on by.  They may want to say hello, but they can't, because you are pushing them away with your decibels.  When raking, people amble by and say hello, often making some wise comment about the great bounty of leaves bestowed on us.  Which is true.  The door is thereby opened for me to make some wisecrack about how we've got it all under control.

Plus, I collect and put in lots of kindling for the burning season ahead.  Mostly, though, I work, and then I stop, and I look down the hill at the lake or the stream way down below in the gully, and that is enough.

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