The Rake's Progress
The lawn is still green, but it hasn't been growing swiftly the way it does during summer. It is green but covered with leaves, brown, purple, and yellow, that lie quietly unless crackled by walkers through.
I should clear them away before the first snowfall. It's not that I mind the leaves, nor fear the disdain of those who care more about leaves and green than I. It's just that when our dog runs through the snow this winter, it'll be better for her without duff beneath.
I have a leaf blower– a nice one. Powerful and noisy. But I don't think I'll use it today. Instead, the rake. Its wooden handle clashes with its green plastic tines, as it seems to know since it continually comes unscrewed as if trying to escape. But, twisting it tight and holding it firmly like a scythe, I make my way to the top of the yard on one side and sweep, sweep, step, sweep, sweep the leaves toward the ravine. Sweep, sweep. Stop and twist the handle. Sweep, sweep, step. Shake away the leaves clumped among the tines.
As I uncover the green, my thoughts detach from the now automatic action of the rake. Raking life. A leaf falls, dead, and it's a part of the whole system. Implicated in that cycle, I sweep that leaf and its kindred back toward the trees from which they fell. The ravine is a source of life, the creek below, and the trees reach ever upward, story after story. Always more leaves, and always more life, though not always the same trees and never the same leaves. Sweep, sweep. Twist.
In summer, the cut grass smells of life, which is nearly the only reason I mow it. So do the crisp and crinkled leaves on a cool bright autumn day. I like being here without the power and without the noise, alive in the action of raking away the waste and making way for the snow dog and for spring. I like life. I want more life. Life all around. Life on the house.
We could use some extra, yes? Another round with friends.