As I was pumping gas today staring off into the distance, I realized how annoyed I was by a landscape company’s incessant buzzing sound as they were cleaning up the parking lot. I looked towards the noise wondering what they were doing. Methodically, and must I say quite artistically, a man was blowing swirls of yellow and gold leaves into tidy piles along the curb.
Somehow, the annoying hum of the leaf blower faded as I watched the piles of leaves get higher and higher. A childhood memory floated in my mind of our yard in North Carolina. We had a huge back yard filled with tall trees, no garden-just trees, and every fall the ground was a blanket of brown crispy oak and maple leaves. My dad would rake them into huge piles and we would run into them head-first. (What is it about a pile of leaves that make people run into them without a care about what you might hit when you bottom out?)
It really was just simply joyous. Our big black dog would disappear in the piles until all you could see was a furry black nose coming through a burst of leaves. The memory is so strong that I can still remember the earthy smell of fallen leaves. My garden in the Pacific Northwest has tall towering fir trees…a much less deciduous garden where those massive piles of leaves really don’t exist like I remember when I was a child. (Really, everything is bigger when you are a kid)
I look at leaves in a very different sort of way now…mulch and compost…death and decay. A different kind of joy-garden gold. I do love this lazy composting method by Marianne B. in her latest newspaper column. http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/11/10/1417648/fallen-leaves-are-great-source.html
Rake them in a big pile,
jump in with joy,
stand up-creaking joints and aching muscles all the way
brush off random leaves
pull out a garbage bag and fill ‘er up!