On President’s Day, Monday, February 17, 2020 I did something that I have never done before—I started up and used my lawnmower.
The day was stunning.
Bright sunshine, a sky bluer than blue, and once in a while a white wispy cloud scurried by without a care. Temperature in the mid-50s, an occasional friendly breeze, this was one of those mother nature spring tease days.
But, I was dealing with a very serious problem. A problem so serious that I have actually thought about civil disobedience. This very serious problem is leaf ownership.
In our neighborhood, we have these magnificent specimen trees— oaks, poplars, sweet gums, maples, you get the idea. The trees for sure add character to the neighborhood, but come fall when their leaves drop, they cover us up.
If you take a careful look around our humble lot, you will note the large oak in the backyard gone, taken down by disease. I forget which hurricane took down the massive oak in the front yard. And over on the east side of our lot, a silver maple croaked. When we took it down, we also said good bye to an out of place hickory tree.
So, in our yard we have remaining three dogwoods, a thunder cloud plum, and a red bud. All leaf producers, but not like the other giants in the neighborhood.
Now, here is the very, very serious problem. The leaves that blow into our yard from other yards on our west and north sides— these leaves didn’t come from our five remaining trees.
That is what I was doing on President’s Day, cleaning up these wayward leaves who plopped down in our yard for no good reason. Their rightful owners down the street were not using their lawn mowers, leaf blowers, or rakes today.
No, they were happily thinking—I am so thankful for the westerly and northerly winds that whip our leaves up the street. My, my how clear my yard looks on this spectacular February day. I think I’ll walk up the street and see if old Bill Pike is in his yard. I thought I heard the sound of a grumpy lawnmower in the distance.
Back to civil disobedience, I think we need a leaf DNA program. It would be pretty simple.
The neighborhood would be surveyed by some very astute tree scientist. Each tree in a plot would be identified to the proper homeowner.
Near the end of December during the middle of the night, all of the remaining leaves in the neighborhood would be placed on a giant conveyor belt that would run from Forest Avenue/Stuart Hall Road to Patterson Avenue/Sweetbriar Road.
The leaves would be scanned based upon their DNA and properly sorted by ownership. Once sorted the leaves would be placed in dump trucks and dumped back into the front yards of the rightful owners.
Crisis solved, not really.
You see the crisis to be solved is really inside of me. It is the pursuit to have a well maintained yard.
The experts say that we should just let the leaves fall and naturally decompose. That idea makes sense, but clearly I and lots of other neighbors don’t have the patience for that decomposing to take place. Plus, in a neighborhood like ours, the leaves out number the people. They might find a way to organize, you know civil disobedience, and really take over.
So, I’ll stop my whining.
I should be thankful that the good Lord gave us trees and leaves. And I guess, I should be thankful that at 66 my old body still can go out there and use a rake, a leaf blower, and a lawn mower.
And I’ll pray that some young genius will take my idea and invent the octopus.
The octopus is a drone with eight arms. It will have the capacity to hover over a yard, deploy its eight arms, and in a nano second vacuum up every leaf in a yard, even those stubborn ones crammed into shrubs.
The octopus will also shred the leaves, and once the cycle of vacuuming is completed, the octopus will gently create a pile of leaf mulch for you to use in your flower beds.
And like all the wonderful gadgets advertised on the ACC network, the octopus will be available for only $19.99.
My $19.99 is ready.