Autumn Rant: It’s Time for Leaves!

Before I write this blog article, I need to have a nap. The only problem is that there’s a person using a saw or sander or leaf blower outside.

So, here is my rant about autumn/ fall, the leaves, and leaf blowers. Be prepared. I’m going to talk a lot about the “good old days”, and sound a lot like someone who says things like “kids these days…” and “get off my lawn!”

Here we go…

As far as leaf blowers go, I get that sometimes it’s easier to use one of those and may be faster than raking if conditions are right. But, what happened to getting some exercise and using a rake? It used to be a great form of exercise for the whole family! Does anyone remember quality family yard-raking time? When I was a kid (oh, here we go) we used rakes. They weren’t “ergonomic” rakes. They weren’t the large rakes that you could essentially scoop up a bunch of leaves in one big sweep. And they certainly didn’t plug in and make a lot of noise. No, that rasping noise meant that you were digging deep and getting under the leaves to make sure you got them all.

No leaf would be left behind, unless it fell at the end of November on top of the snow, and then got buried in the snow. Raking damp leaves was the worst.

That’s right, we’re getting into that time of year when yard work is done by those with yards. I know lots of people are working from home right now and some of the kids are learning from home as well. Does that get anyone out of leaf duty? No, in fact with less commuting time, there’s more yard work time. Yay! At least, I’ve never heard of anyone getting sick from getting the “one side of your body because you can’t hold the rake the other way” kind of workout. A little sore maybe, but it was worth it when the next bathing suit season rolled around.

I say why not take advantage of the decreased travel time to instead to tell your kids to “go rake up the leaves already” instead of waiting for the weekend.

“It’s a nice lunch hour outside today, go rake some leaves”. If you’re an introvert, this means you get a break from talking and participating (online, especially if you’re getting a mark for it) and instead having some “alone-time” outside because maybe you have a lazy sibling who seems to spend a lot of time doing important things in the bathroom.

If your family goes outside with you to have quality family time raking leaves, then as an introvert you instead get a whole lot of being around people but you don’t have to talk to them. There’s no talking because you’re all so hard at work raking the leaves up. You have to get them raked up before it rains because once they’re wet, they’re heavy and slimy and not as much fun to jump into.

And I’ll tell you something else: the kids are working fast to get those leaves raked up so they can jump into the pile, rake them up again, and jump into the leaves one more time. The kids (and adults for that matter) who are used to getting things right away are screaming at you to get a leaf blower so that pile can be made even faster.

As you may have gathered by now, I don’t like leaf blowers. I think I might like a leaf vacuum though. Is there such a thing?  A small one could get at those tiny pieces that get stuck in the gaps on my car’s hood and save me from picking them out one-by-one. As it is now, I have “something to do” when I’m procrastinating so that I can still feel productive. If you get bored of being inside, start putting on your jacket and shoes. When someone asks “where are you going?” you get to say “I’m going out to pick leaves off the car”. If I were the one you’d be announcing that to I’d say (because I understand); “Okay, have fun!”

So, why don’t I like leaf blowers? They’re noisy. That’s the number one thing (safety note: hearing protection should be worn while using them). Plus, it’s a missed opportunity for exercise. The way some people avoid exercise under the guise of “making life easier” makes me wonder if some people are allergic to exercise, especially if it means engaging their core. It has been well established that as an introvert I prefer quiet. I think the leaf blower was invented by someone who not only wanted to “make someone’s life easier”, but also enjoys making noise.

And then someone asks “But what about the people who can’t rake leaves because they have a heart-condition or, like, they’re old, or busy, or something?” There are people out there; kids, teenagers, landscapers, procrastinators (of the writer/ office worker variety) who would let those people pay them to rake leaves. And if they’re savvy about it, they’ll rake the leaves before they all fall so that they have to go back and do the raking again. Who knows: You may even find a volunteer. When I was young, I traded my leaf-raking services for playing in those leaves, or a spaghetti dinner. If we were really good at it, there may even be dessert.

Plus, it was nice just to get outside.

It might sound like I see fallen leaves as a nuisance, and there may be people who truly do see leaves that way and would like to have no trees and no tree-messes to clean up. I, for one, do love trees and all they have to offer. Sure, they make a mess and yes it’s true that I would avoid parking my car under a sap-dripping variety, but they’re also beautiful. The so-called “mess” gives us something to do in order to clean up after these beautiful trees. I also think it’s a funny thing we humans do to put so much emphasis on cleaning up leaves and needles and whatnot that trees drop onto the ground. In the forests and woodlands, these items are seen as beautiful, useful, and necessary for the maintenance and continuation of life in the forest. So, once you’re done getting your exercise cleaning up the leaves in your hard, have that nap, and then head out into the forest far away from the noisy leaf blowers and ranting neighbours and enjoy the beauty of nature.

And an added bonus – if it’s cold and grey, there won’t be many people out there with you. For the introverts out there, it’s a dream come true.

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E-mail kathryn@kathrynreichheld.ca Hours Contact me anytime and I'll get back to you as soon as possible.
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