Fall foliage in the Northeast is past peak at this time. The intense reds, golds and yellows of early October have passed and most of those leaves are now on the ground in a more muted color. These leaves are on the ground-now what?
I have often grumbled about leaves and the fall cleanup of them. I would shake my fist at the trees and dream about the day when I would cut them all down and have a load of firewood and no leaves on the ground. I would look with longing at my neighbor who had the cool leaf pick-up attachment for his riding mower and would imagine myself in the driver’s seat of my own leaf-picking machine. I could fire that thing up, clear my lawn in no time and be back on the couch watching football before you know it.
I have spent much of the past three weeks in various states of leaf clean-up. My tools include: a rake, a tarp, a mower with leaf bag (kind of), and a leaf blower. I have spent most of my time with the rake and tarp as other members of my family are much more efficient at using the other tools. They treat me like the simple ox, throw the yoke over my shoulder, and tell me to bring the leaves to the curb.
I am OK with that. I like the simplicity of my tools. I feel like I can get the leaves to the curb in an efficient manner and sometimes I feel like Santa with his bag of toys when I have the tarp full of leaves flung over my shoulder and I am walking out to the curb. I may have even muttered “Ho Ho Ho” this past weekend on one of my many trips to the curb.
This past Sunday was one of those late October days in Upstate New York that you need to embrace before the winter. There was not a cloud in the sky, the sun was warm, and the air had a certain smell that blended wood smoke and apples. I was keeping this in mind as my son and I worked on getting some leaves to the curb. We worked as a pretty efficient team as he used the leaf blower and I used my rake and tarp. We worked together for about an hour to get a large portion of the leaves piled up in front of our house for the Village DPW to collect.
As much as I have groaned about leaf pick-up in the past, this past Sunday I worked hard to keep in mind how lucky I was to be able to spend several hours outside on a beautiful day. I continue to work hard every day to be grateful for many of the things that come my way, including my rake and tarp.