Thank God for evergreens.
But that’s the price we pay for living in this stunningly beautiful part of the country. Every year we get to enjoy the thrilling parade of our glorious autumn colors. But, like any parade, there’s always a ton of crap to clean up afterwards.
New England’s trees are magnets for carloads of weekend visitors from arboreally-challenged New York City and other uber-urban areas. They come to be awestruck by our blazingly brilliant foliage. What they don’t realize, though, is that once the leaves are on the ground they have to be picked up so the lawns don’t die from lack of sunlight.
To all my city-dweller friends, that means extra work.
What visitors are also totally unaware of is exactly what was all too clear to me as a kid raking the yard—the leaves don’t fall all at once. So after spending the whole weekend cleaning up the yard instead of playing with my friends, I’d head to school on Monday morning only to find the stupid lawn is covered once again with more stupid leaves.
This goes on for about three or four weekends every year until all the trees are bare and the leaves are disposed of. Then and only then did I happily call the season “Fell.”
The great thing, though, about those pre-leaf blower days was that you could rake the leaves into a pile on your property and get rid of them by setting them afire. Everybody did it. For decades. And if you were a kid, jumping into a monstrous pile of leaves was great fun provided dad’s not tossing lit matches into the heap at the same time.
Somewhere in the ‘70s, I think, it dawned on city and other environmentally-aware officials that the smoke from our fire combined with a few million other homeowners doing the same yearly ritual, created considerable amounts of air pollution. The practice was then banned. A much more eco-friendly way to dispose of leaves had risen to the occasion just in the nick of time—big plastic bags! Yes, put the leaves in the plastic bags and the city could pick them up and dispose of them in some unknown, and in retrospect, not fully thought-out way. No fire, no pollution! Woo-hoo!
And we all know how well that turned out.
So here we are in 2015. We’ve come a long way since those days of raking leaves. We traded in the crackling and wonderful aroma of toxic, air polluting burning leaves for the green choking gasoline fumes and bleeding ears.
Yes, there’s nothing like New England in the Fell.
Til next Tuesday…