A brief bit of wet, nearly wintry whimsy — just to get something posted today.
We raked leaves yesterday. For the fifth time.
The two ashes in the front had dropped all of their foliage earlier, following the poplar near the northwest corner of our (back) yard which began the frondy relinquishment this year. The cascade began about mid-September: the city, predictably, will begin its leaf pick-up program November 5, just about six weeks too late. And those industrious city workers are going endure the wetness of November breaking (we hope) the drought of 2012.
I had raked three times on my own and another afternoon (mostly in back, but not solely) with My Belovedʼs assistance. I waited until perhaps September 25th to begin raking, letting a goodly supply of autumnal color litter the lawn (and I mowed up the first scatterings at least twice previously). With less effort than I had recalled feeling the chore had required last fall, I worked a long, large pile of brown, yellow and orange botanical refuse to the curbside (carefully, per our cityʼs guidance/regulations, keeping the pile on our grass) up the western side of the house and from the front yard itself. Then I raked up the eastern side, creating a separate pile on the eastern corner of our lot, beside the driveway. I did the whole procedure again, along with cleaning out the gutters (again), about a week later, and raked some more another time almost immediately thereafter.
Then all the ashes that the developer planted a decade ago, as our mandatory (but slow-maturing) “natural barrier,” having grown to some useful and (by this summer) lovely height, shed their loads of bright red foliage, and our rear region (thanks to northerly winds that had kept our front cleared for weeks longer than recently usual*) needed work again. On a Saturday, I remember, The Lovely One and I created two heaps of leaves on each side of the back yard.
The following Monday I raked once more and increased both the piles behind our home and the big, long, high heaps barricading our property from the street in front. And then I figured I had better get some of that cleared (plenty of our anterior leaves had been blown around the area and into the gutter). I had heard it was supposed to rain the next day.
So I lifted, hurled, regathered and packed truckbeds full of leaves. Eight times, scattering the autumnal abundance clatteringly around the streets of Our Town as I drove (carefully and generally slowly, yet profligate in my sharing of our arboreal excrescence) the 2.1 miles to the city yard waste site and back home for more leaves. The ninth time, I had just a little stack in the street from the major front accumulation and the renewed heap on the eastern edge of the driveway, plus those new(ish) piles in the back. The rain was predicted to arrive, but I was wearying that day and only loaded the two mounds in front for the final haul.
And then the rains fell, pretty well daily, sogging the chill jumbles of rotting leaves behind the house, between that day and this past Saturday… and the maples, front and western side, began to spill their no-longer-green verdure in damp clusters of faded umber flaxen. Our neighbor to the west took advantage of a drizzleless afternoon on Friday to mow his lawn (and thereby vanish their acquisitions from our mostly barren trees), so when the downpours ceased Saturday morning and didnʼt return on Sunday, She Who Must and I got busy with our yard, too (unfortunately not getting so far as a now-necessary final mowing for this season), raking anew and delivering (from both our front and back) another three truckloads of leaves to the brimming grounds of the city waste site.
As thunderstorms darken today (deeply) and drench all unsheltered throughout the Midwest, I observe that only the maple in front retains any leaves (and large ones those). But with precipitation predicted for much of the upcoming fortnight, I wonder when (or if) Iʼll accomplish that much needed, terminal manicuring of our grass…
* In olden days, before we lost the meadow (and the cows) to our north to commercial development on a concrete barren, when our trees were smaller than they have flourished to tower, I remember barely raking ever in the autumn — our neighborhood cursed, I guess, with our propertyʼs then-lesser spillage of defoliation rather than us. Nowadays, the winds seem more often from the south, meaning that all winter we get brown rags of oak leaves silting over the snow (not to mention the batches of those leaves I rake up before the white flakes fly).