Now that we know each other, I feel it’s time for me to make a confession. I . . . Well, I did something I never did before. I contracted with a landscaper to do my spring clean up. Please, don’t judge me. I have my reasons.
I don’t have a large yard, but what I do have are lots of trees. And the property behind my house is not developed, so that means more trees. And the street where I live is actually a “T,” which means when the wind blows, all of the leaves from the intersecting block are deposited on my lawn. So my fall weekends are spent raking and bagging.
At this stage, I have a pretty good system. I use an old garbage can, put in a recyclable plastic bag, rake everything into a pile, knock the can onto its side, shove in the leaves, tie off the bag, carry it to the curb, and start all over again. I can do that 40 times each weekend.
Then, spring arrives, and it’s a cruel joke. After the snow melts, there are still more leaves to be raked. They blew into my yard all winter long when I wasn’t looking. My partner, Joe, is always after me to hire someone to rake up the yard. But I take my stand. I convince him, as well as myself, that I love to rake and clean the yard.
So, there I stood on a cool early spring Saturday morning, armed with my favorite rake. Many of you may be saying, “Why doesn’t he use a leaf blower?” The truth is, I haven’t quite mastered the art of leaf blowing. When I have make the attempt, which is usually on the windiest day, I feel as if all I do is blow the leaves up and around until they fall pretty much where they started. On the other hand, I am quite skilled at blowing all of the mulch out of the flower beds.
I stick with my rake. It’s old, with a not-so-complete set of tines, and we go back a long way with each other. I know how it feels, how to lead it in the dance of raking leaves. And it knows what I need it to do. We raked and bagged and raked and bagged, and when we were spent and exhausted, we looked at a leafless backyard.
Backyard? All we raked was the backyard? We had been out here all day. The sun was setting. And I still had to do the front yard? I cracked. Maybe I hadn’t trained enough over the winter months. Maybe the raking magic was gone. But I knew I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t rake, bend, or bag another leaf.
My neighbor–really, all of my neighbors–had caved in years ago. One day, I saw the trailer with three shamrocks on it pull up, and out rolled all of the equipment and workers, and my neighbor’s lawn was raked, dethatched, aerated, fertilized, and seeded. When the crew finished that yard, they turned their attention to another yard, and another, and another. They were unstoppable, and I wanted them.
I marched up the street, dragging my rake behind me, and I made a deal with the shamrock trailer. My front yard received the full spa treatment in the time it would have taken me to get all of my equipment out of the shed. The lawn looked amazing.
Now, here is a dilemma. Three shamrocks wants to mow my lawn on a regular basis, but I’m one of those last hold outs. (That’s a post in itself!) And I have to come to terms with my relationship with my rake. Could it really be over after all these years? I’ll answer that question in the autumn, when the first leaves start to fall.