Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Why Not Make Like a Tree

Wrote this some years back and either I'm prescient or things change a lot more slowly than previously advertised and not just around here....

One of the downsides to living where there are four seasons is the transition from summer to autumn, especially for the trees and their leaves. I am very much of the 'live and let live' persuasion which translates to the 'lie and let them lay' position on leave gathering. 

I've noticed this year in my neighborhood, some of us have gathered so many, it's as if we're waiting for them to fall from the trees and nab them on the first bounce. We rake them up and some of us, maybe you have the same kind of neighbors where you live (maybe you are that neighbor where you live) place them in black plastic bags awaiting pickup by the trash folks. Not me. I live in a house not my own with technically no trees on the property so I have less than zero interest in collecting fallen leaves. 

If it happens around here the way I watched it happen yesterday in Waterford (the home of the speed bowl, not the crystal), the dustmen empty the plastic bags into their trucks and discard the bags. Causing me to wonder what the point of the plastic bag was/is. Elsewhere I've seen these VERY large paper bags filled with the leaves-in theory because the paper is biodegradable, all of it can go directly into the landfill--or do you think they're headed for incinerators? Around here we have trash to power incineration units though I've no idea how much energy we get from such an operation.

For millions of years, I estimate, we as a species did nothing with the leaves as they fell. You see all that dirt all around us? I have a funny feeling where some of it might have come from and I'm not sure what we think we''re accomplishing by how we're operating now. While I wasn't looking compost has become a lost cause, it seems, perhaps even a dark art. 

In its place, we have created a first class annoyance, the leaf blower. We went from devices that looked like vacuums and picked up fallen leaves and plopped them into bags (do you remember those?) to a gadget that hangs from your hip and can be used to blow leaves that have fallen on your property into someone else's yard or out into the street.

I think leaf blowers are a much more accurate and contemporary symbol of America in the 21st Century than either the Bald Eagle or the Stars & Stripes. There's nothing that says "Wha?!" more than a guy on a Saturday afternoon working a leaf blower wearing dark shades with Ibuds in both ears. And I'd ask him why he's doing what he's doing, but he's as oblivious to me right now as I am to him for the rest of the year. 

Ahh, Sweet Suburbia. We've got Mother Nature on the run--now what?

"This is my street, and I’m never gonna to leave it,
And I’m always gonna stay here If I live to be ninety-nine,
’Cause all the people I meet, Seem to come from my street.
And I can’t get away Because it’s calling me, (come on home)
Hear it calling me, (come on home).
-bill kenny

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