We have this really big tree in our front yard.
It’s a beautiful tree, especially right now, as fall starts to fade out. It’s also dumping mass quantities of leaves in our yard, and some in the neighbor’s yard too.
Saturday all the kids in the neighborhood were raking the leaves into piles, and then pairing off to do “battle” in the piles. One of the older boys even filmed the battles with spot-on sportscaster commentary. I think they must have spent at least two hours making up games and playing. The final trick was when Graham came out after his nap, and Garrett hid, buried in a pile of leaves, waiting to jump up and scare him.
Later in the day, my neighbor–the one with a few leaves in his yard–whipped out the trusty leaf blower and cleared them all off of his lawn and into the street. There was a sharp line between his bare green grass and our leaf littered lawn.
Sunday, while I baked pumpkin bread for breakfast, Mike took the boys out to help him rake and bag all of our leaves. When I called them in for breakfast, they were working together, dumping armfulls of leaves into black trash bags. Watching them, and smelling the crunched leaves, it struck me as a moment to remember. Not something you’d get waving a noisy leafblower around, that’s for sure.
I don’t tell that story to criticize my neighbor. In fact, many of my neighbors have and use leaf blowers, and their yards are certainly much tidier than mine. I guess I just see it as another example of how we try to “simplify” our lives, and end up losing a lot of the benefits of doing things the harder way. Not only do you miss out on some classic fall fun, but you lose an opportunity to involve your kids in household chores, and burn some of their energy.
I’d add leaf blowers to the list of modern conveniences like fast food, work e-mail and maybe even these proposed food lables, that make our lives easier and more streamlined, but also contribute to a more sedentary lifestyle.
No, I don’t think a couple leaf-raking sessions are going to solve the nation’s weight problem. I did a little calculation on Self Magazine’s website and determined I’d burn just under 100 calories in 20 minutes of leaf-raking. That’s not plateau busting, but 100 calories is nothing to scoff at.
So, do you have a leaf blower you wouldn’t give up no matter how many calories you want to burn? Do you think I’m taking all of this just a little too seriously? Speaking of things that blow, just to prove that I don’t spend all of my time contemplating the decline of modern society, here is a clip of Ke$ha’s song, “Blow?” I Love it for the gym, and impromptu kitchen dance parties. Plus, the video has James Van Der Beek, aka Dawson!