Don’t worry. I didn’t go spend a couple of G’s on new computers (like that’s ever going to happen…back to that soaring swine thing). I raked the damn leaves.
It started out innocently enough. We went out to go swinging. And then, as usual, one thing led to another and I picked up the leaf rake that was so insouciantly leaning against the house (if a rake can be insouciant…but as this is my literary world for the moment, do indulge me…). And before I knew it I’d raked for a good 30 minutes and had 3 GINORMOUS piles of aspen leaves for the munchkin and her dog to play in.
There are three things I absolutely detest doing…sweeping the floor (over and over and over again, all day, every day), dragging hoses to water the gargantuan piece of land we call a yard, and RAKING THE GOL’ DURNED LEAVES. (I am so not sure how to spell that, but don’t you think “gol’ durned” is fun to say???) (Now that I think about it, maybe it’s supposed to be gol’ darned…or gosh danged…or…whatever…you get my drift, right?)
Anyway, as Gracelyn will tell you, mommy HATES raking leaves (and we say that hate is an extremely strong word around here, so we try not to use it a lot). It just goes on and on and on. And in the case of our “backyard” there must be about a bazillion, gazillion aspen leaves out there. Aspen leaves as far as the the eye can see. Now, on the tree they’re a breathtaking sight to behold. But as soon as they hit the ground, it’s a totally different thing. Though Gracleyn and I do like our aspen carpet (that’s when the golden leaves are still moist and have just fallen and the forest, when you’re walking through it, looks like it truly has a golden aspen carpet at your feet) and it smells so absolutely lovely when fall is in the air. But as soon as they turn crispy and start crunching, one gets that feeling inside. The icky one that says “get out there and get those leaves raked up or you’ll be sorry when it snows…and snow…and snows…and snows…” Cause after it snows and snows and snows and snows here, those leaves turn to a huge, soggy pile of mush once all that snow melts. And then you really MUST get out and rake them up.
So pick your poison. Rake now, or rake later. Today was chilly but sunny. We wore coats and hats and gloves. The spring is chilly too, with snow melting daily, the glaciers receding inch by inch, revealing the thawing ground beneath. With its layer of mushy, soggy, heavy, decaying leaves. The earth is fragrant then, hinting at the secrets to be revealed once it warms up and begins bringing forth its bounty. And the sun is out usually, beckoning one outside after months of being housebound. Every once in a while you might see a green blade of grass, eliciting an almost giddy feeling knowing that spring is marching along and soon there will be summer and flowers and leaves and green everywhere you look!!! So for that, spring raking can be a blessing.
Last year I did a bit of both. I hastily raked the front yard before the first forecasted snow. I was successful at removing every last aspen leaf from the area. Then the snow came (it was early with many, many leaves still on the trees…I’ll try to find the pictures). And by the time it was rakable in the back, I said forget it. I’m not sure the pictures of the “back yard” I’ve posted allow you to gauge the immenseness of it. Nor the sheer number of towering, mature aspen trees that drop their myriad of leaves. I am not kidding on that whole bazillion, gazillion number. Anyway, I gave up on the back and thought, what the heck?? We live on the side of a mountain–why the heck do I need a manicured lawn???? Then this spring, as the “backyard” glaciers receded slowly to the south, to the edge of the base of the mountain, they revealed the soggy mess left by the leaves I neglected to rake up. So I set out with the resolve to rake a bit each day…just the amount that had been exposed by the melting snow and had time to dry. Thinking that if I did a bit at a time, it wouldn’t be so overwhelming. That worked for a few days until I got bored and irritated that I couldn’t just spend time outside playing with the tiny terrorist. And that’s when my intense dislike (hatred if you will) of raking started to take hold. It became a nuisance. I had reveled in the wildness of our “backyard” and now I was trying to manicure it. Aaggggghhhhh…
This year the yard (front particularly) is a very, very sore subject for me. It has been overrun with some sort of rodent, intent on causing me intense anguish and grief. The land is pockmarked with mounds of dirt (not gopher holes…those bastards stayed out in the pasture…until the hired six-gun and then the badger finished them off…but I digress…), with occasional piles of grass roots thrown up from below sitting on top of the dirt. I still have to tell you about the flower garden, but my heart hurts too much just yet. Plus, if I write about it, then it really becomes real. Now I can sort of, sort of, still ignore it and hope that one of these mornings I’ll wake up, look outside and see it was all just a bad dream. Hey, a girl can hope, right?
God I forgot where I was. Oh yes, my decision about raking this year. I had given up on the yard (both front and back) along about July and conceded to the little bastards. Then, the results from the scant watering I had done seemed to vanish into thin air and the grass stopped growing altogether and then turned brown…and crunchy. So I’ve tried to turn a blind eye to the utter destruction all around me, both from animals and nature combined. I don’t know if the ground will recover or not. I don’t know if there has been permanent damage to what little grass there was by those gol’durned critters. Regardless, since I’d given up, I just assumed that I wouldn’t care about the leaves. And as busy as we are right now, spending time raking leaves just wasn’t high on the list.
Until today. The rake–that insouciant little rake, called out to me, needling, prodding, poking at me. Goading me. And I caved. And before I knew what had happened, before I could even register it, the damn thing was in my hands and I was, gasp, raking. And I COULDN’T STOP. I simply could not stop. That’s what happens when I start raking. I just keep thinking “well, just that little area over there…I could make a small, neat little pile over there…just a bit more and it’ll look so much better…yada,yada,yada…”
I need help don’t I? Like maybe Raker’s Anonymous or something? You know, for those of us with a raking addiction…who can’t stop raking, no matter what…who have no willpower to resist the first rake that comes along. Irritating as hell is what it is.
Today I raked with my little partner though…and that helped a bit. She thought it was so cool that she could finally help mommy! And then we made a huge pile and she proceeded to throw them all up in the air and lay in it and bury the Max in it and a glorious, wonderful time was had by all.
So see…I can enjoy the raking…if I stay in the moment and breathe. Maybe I’ll be alright after all.