Living at home entails participation; no, it requires one to help with chores around the house. Raking leaves was one task I was looking forward to, as I had not done it for four years. As the fall leaves started changing colors, a certain wistfulness hit me as I recalled the timeless activity of raking the leaves into a pile and jumping into them as a child.
Thankfully, our suburban yard is not large, although most of the leaves had blown across the road from the majestic oak trees. This particular Saturday morning, with the October sun shining brightly, I look forward to working outside and breathing the crisp fall air. I head outside to find my parents and suddenly the ridiculous roar of lawn machines meets me. This leads me to think the whole neighborhood is doing their leaves, but I soon find out it is only the neighbors to the north. They have two riding lawn mowers and are using a leaf blower to collect their leaves. I walk to our shed to grab the old-fashioned tool, a rake. My rake, unlike my parents’, has a metal and plastic end. While raking, I find the metal rake works better than the completely plastic ends, or perhaps it is my commitment to gather every single leaf littering my yard. The rake I am using may have worked the best, but was bested in terms of a cool factor by another. The plastic rake my dad is using has a handle long enough to fit Paul Bunyan. My family and I joke that we could stand in one spot and rake the whole yard and, if we stretched our arms out, the neighbor’s yard too.
To further divide the gap between the technological neighbors and ourselves, once our leaves are raked in piles, my parents and I pull out the old-fashioned tarp to move the leaves. Our dog enjoys a ride as we pull the leaves across the yard to the trailer. At least our system of raking leaves does not use fuel or pollute the atmosphere with noise. It was quite peaceful when the neighbor’s machines were off and I could joke with my family and appreciate the crunch of the leaves.
Date of Essay: October 24, 2011