Friday, October 22, 2010

Fight of the Foliage

00145179I love this time of year. Where I live, trees with colorful autumn leaves tower over every home in the neighborhood. It’s nature’s annual art show.

The only downside to it all is that most of those leaves eventually fall. Before we bought our home seven years ago, we had no idea that the house was in the “direct line of fire.” It sits at the end of a cul-de-sac, and every year the wind seems to conspire to blow all of the neighborhood leaves up the street and settle in our yard… our gutters… our window wells… you get the idea. One year, I told the next door neighbor that I noticed that the people up the street never seem to get around to raking their leaves; I said, “I think they know that eventually those leaves will end up in our yards anyway. So why bother?”

Every year, I’m like a tired, old general crouched in a foxhole. On windy autumn days, I take my seat by my living room window and wait. Then the invasion begins. The leaves slowly march up my street. There is no escape. I raise my binoculars to see what my leaf 00284140blower and I are up against. There are hundreds, no thousands, perhaps millions of the feisty foliage!

By the time the wind settles down, we are surrounded by a sea of red, yellow and brown leaves. Several times in the season, nature seems to laugh in our faces as little whirlwinds appear out of nowhere and toss those leaves – this usually happens shortly after I have raked the leaves into several neat piles. It’s as though Mother Nature has bratty kids who play practical jokes on me each year.

In the end, I get the last laugh. Raising my binoculars to my weary eyes, I scan the neighborhood looking for any conniving leaves that might be planning a last minute, surprise attack. After determining that the coast is clear, and the enemy has settled in to their positions surrounding my home, I move in.

00144373With leaf blower over my shoulder, I begin my march as I initiate Operation Autumn Storm. This is about the time I hear music in my head. I think it is “The Imperial March” from Star Wars.

Those dastardly gutter cloggers are about to feel the wrath of my leaf-sucking, mulching machine!* Slowly I attack them, luring them in with the promise of another dance in a whirlwind. Little do they know that this whirlwind will be their last.

The next day, after the completion of yet another autumn conquest, I spread the remains in the yards of my neighbors down the street.


Okay. Maybe not. However, it sure seems like the perfect ending, doesn’t it.


*No actual leaves were harmed in the making of this story.

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