Thursday, October 29, 2009

To Leaf or Not to Leaf

Early Autumn Lift

To leaf or not to leaf, that is the question. Sorry, Hamlet, I realize it's not as existential as the decision you contemplated, but it works nonetheless. Every year it's the same: do I get out the rake and leaf blower, and like a domesticated cowboy, herd the exponentially falling leaves, scattered like cattle after a stampede, into a pile or do I indulge myself and let them accumulate?

Doing nothing will choke the grass eventually, so there's that. On the other hand, I love the effect that comes from a yard full of leaves, especially the maples and oak. Here in Maine, much to my surprise, we have Magnolias -- I thought they were only seen down South -- that contribute large, semi-ovoid shaped ones to the mix.

I guess my reticence stems partly from a sense that this is autumn's natural self-expression and I hate to interfere. Part of it is simply the kid in me who loves the scent of fallen leaves and the sound that comes from kicking your feet as you walk through them, sending dozens flying with each step. And the more leaves you have, the more fun it is.

I'm also enough of a kid, though, to have fun with the leaf blower. Last year I raked, and with a yard the size of mine, it was enough to make Sisyphus shudder -- this year is no different. Blowing is still work, as my muscles remind me at the end of the day, but it's also play, and that's a good thing. Work -- any kind of work -- that is the equivalent of adult play has the potential to become a creative expression of who we are as persons. All you need is the right playground.

(Image of autumn in Maine by Just Us 3 via Flickr)
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