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Most folks dispatch their leaves in the autumn. I hold onto to mine over winter. Sure, I shove them off the lawn and into the beds, but there they stay until the snow stops threatening. Along about the second week of April, I have a lot of leafing to do. Even then, I intend to hold onto those babies for a year or two, setting them in black plastic to cook down into something the soil might appreciate.

Beneath that blanket, Spring’s about two weeks more advanced than it otherwise might have been. The soil seems moist but not saturated like the unprotected areas ended up. No moss grew under there, either. Some tender herbs even survived.

I was hoping to use the leaf blower, but the leaf layer’s too thick. It needs careful raking, and I need the exercise and the outside time in the light. Winter’s cosy inside, but ultimately suffocating. I’ve spent the last four or five months looking outside, the observer, watching the yard snooze, and snoozing myself. Finally comes the time when only active engagement yields anything. Nothing here that thinking about it might help. This needs brawn, not brains. Sweat, not sophistication.

I shy away from plunging in, knowing this work will become my obsession until I’ve finished it. I’m wary whenever beginning another obsession, knowing it will for a time take away all my other choices and undermine my sacred, suffocating routine. That routine needs blowing up, and it knows it. Still, it clings to the overly-familiar in the face of even this small adventure.

The property management company enlisted some landscaper to bid on some yard work here. I’d told him that the lawn needs work, but the landscaper bid on ‘cleaning up the yard and pruning’ instead, to which I responded that I would do that work for nothing. I meant I would do it to preserve or regain my own sanity, for the year could not be properly balanced without me cleaning up my own leavings. So I snuck out yesterday and started the leafing, figuring the property management company just might be misguided enough to hire that landscaper anyway. I want that guy to find nothing to do when he arrives. Maybe I can deflect him to focus where he might add some value by fixing the lawns.

I have other work to do, but none higher or better. This rite of Spring might make things right. I will stand back from the finished work and feel that rare satisfaction of having done something I can see as done; not an ounce of ambiguity about it. The neighbors will marvel that a mere renter might take such care, but they’re unaware of the therapy this entails. I will feel a bit more sane, and might have toppled over the edge into crazy without it.

I am leafing through more than leftover leaves as I finish my leafing today.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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