A sea of yellow and orange leaves covers the yard, rippling ever so gently with the wind. The mailman trudges through the colorful debris wielding a handful of letters in front of his body and an official USPS bag slung over his shoulder.
“Lazy people,” he curses under his breath as wades to the mailbox on the outside of the small and otherwise tidy house.
He knows so much about the people on his route and so little at the same time. He knows their names and titles, their subscriptions and bills. He knows when they get home from work and the cars they drive. He knows where ferocious dogs are apt to be chained up and where an evil-eyed cat waits all day in the window, glaring out at the world with disdain.
He knows that it’s time for raking; actually, its past the time for raking, and still the leaves on the corner lot cover the ground, turning from gold to brown and killing the grass underneath.
“Don’t worry about the grass, if it dies, we won’t have to mow next Summer,” I reassure my worried husband about his silly lawn related concerns.
He does not respond with the expected appreciation at my problem solving. Instead, he arrives home with a box of leaf and refuse bags, two scooper claws, a new gimmick for picking up leaves, and drags out the rakes from the back of the garage. Navigating the garage without tripping over a level or having a ladder crash onto his head is quite the feat, so I know he means business when he shows up with his gear.
He gives a rallying cry for his leaf army to assemble and begin the long awaited, annual battle against the leaves before the city ends the leaf-bag-pick-up period. Of note, I am unwillingly drafted, but still fulfill my duty to restore order to the yard. Soon, the leaves are gathered into huge piles, with one sweep from my husband to every three of mine.
Thanks to Daylight Savings, it is too dark to continue until the next day.
By the end of the weekend, blisters on our hands and a garage sized pile of plastic bags filled with leaves are all we have to show for our time, but we are nonetheless proud of our work. We stand back and admire the newly created Mt. Leafmore and the mostly leaf free, partially dead yard, when neighbors from down the street stroll by wearing matching black track suits and wave.
“Looks good, guys.”
“Thanks, we waited until the last minute, but we got it done.”
“Too bad the last day for leaf pick up was on Friday,” they snicker to themselves and walk on towards their perfectly manicured lawn.
And so it goes, it was too little, too late. Why did we wait? Why didn’t we double down and get it done a week earlier?
There is a simple answer, we are leaf peepers. People who would rather admire the leaves as they change colors and marvel as they drop from the trees and fall to Earth than to try and clean up after Mother Nature. Blessed are the Leaf Peepers, for they shall inherit the leaves.
Bags and bags of leaves.