Saturday, November 16, 2013

Leaves, Singing, and Dancing




It’s Saturday morning and as I’m typing this there are three Street Department workers out in front of my shop raking my huge piles of leaves into their heavy-duty Sucktronic® leaf mulcher.  And they’re singing as they work.  Sometimes, even on a gray, overcast November day the world is just too beautiful for words.

I just walked a tip out to them.  They made my day. I want to encourage the magic.

My acre has five Norway Maples – each with an umbrella of greater than fifty feet.  When we clear our yard of leaves, we end up with an immense pile streetside (now that we no longer burn them.  Oh how I miss the smell and the dreamy wonder of a good leaf fire.)

Yesterday a heavily bearded thirty-something man in dirty work clothes pulled into the two-track side of my circular driveway.  He was towing a trailer.  He walked the rest of the way up the drive and caught me as I was walking between the house and the shop.  “May I have your leaves?” he mumbled.  I didn’t catch it at first, but then I realized he couldn’t speak clearly.

My first thought was to wonder why he wanted the leaves in the first place.  My second thought, though, was an uncharitable one.  Knowing as I do that the city’s Street Department was going to soon be picking up the leaves, and that the city makes a very clean job of it – leaving nothing behind – I worried that this fellow would leave just enough of the leaves on the ground that: 1. I would have a mess, and 2. Now there would not be enough of a pile of leaves for the Street Department to bother with.  They would leave them.

“As long as you don’t leave a mess behind – rake up after yourself – you’re welcome to them.”  I said.



When did I become a crabby old man?

“By the way, what do you want the leaves for?” I couldn’t help it. I wanted to know.

“I garden” was the simple reply.

Anyway, the man walked back to his truck and trailer (which, as it turns out, held his gas-powered mulching machine).  Upon his return, a young, maybe eight-year-old boy I hadn’t noticed before got out of the passenger side of the truck.  Then together the two of them worked in quiet concert gathering the leaves.  Father and son sharing labor.  It may be one of the most beautiful dances in which mankind engages.  They took about half of the leaves and raked the grass beneath as clean as a whistle.

Dar is such a sap.  She was so touched at the tableau of father and son working together that she went to her storage box of porcelain ornaments and walked out and handed them one of her snowflakes.  They’d made her day.  She wanted to encourage the magic.

10 comments:

  1. Ooooo I would have traded him veggies or fruits for leaves! As a gardener I am always hunting for more leaves and newspaper. Bet that guy has great soil!
    Keep dancing John! Have missed your blogging :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dang, where were you when I could have been extorting some fresh produce from the guy? Why didn't you suggest this before he pulled up my drive?

      Delete
  2. Two of those elusive John Baumann posts in one day? Must be the Holiday season coming on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check the time signatures. I very carefully made sure they would occur on different days. I wouldn't want to overstay my welcome.

      Delete
  3. I second both those comments!

    ReplyDelete
  4. some days we are all touch at the goodness of man kind. Thanks for making my day a little brighter. Love the last 2 post just have a head of mumbled madness right now. Plus some days I think that the writer should have the last say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It occurred in pretty quick succession (as it turned out) with your post about the restaurant kindnesses.

      Delete
  5. As the grandmother of a non-verbal grandbaby, your post gave me the most wonderful fantasy. That man was probably like my granddaughter, non-verbal, and it took years of work to get to where communication, while not perfect, was possible. When my Emma is "thirty-something," I will doubtless be gone, but I so love the idea of her and her little girl working together, and some sweet soul, like your Dar, bringing out a gift. That little boy will always remember her as he decorates his tree someday, as that ornament will bring back the magic of that afternoon every year. Bless her!

    ReplyDelete