Saturday, November 24, 2012
Leaves and What's Left Behind
Later, in my 20s, needing organic matter to loosen some clay soil for a tomato patch, I found it in the deep, black, improbably rich "leaf mold" at the bottom of a leaf pile that the owner had topped with new leaves year after year.
All this was a celebration of endings and beginnings in the endless cycling of life, one few children will experience today.
I doubt that leaf burning will return any time soon. Just yesterday, sirens screamed after a fire spread from cigarette to leaves to house on Moore Street. If machines are available and gas is affordable, people will use them. The machines do a good job, it must be said. The giant Claw is an uncanny merging of brute strength and delicacy as it heaves great gobs of thick branches into a waiting dump truck, or pauses to pluck a discarded geranium blossom from the curb.
Maybe I should look upon leaves and feel discontent and fear, and wish my childhood memories not be so persistent. But in time the machines as currently powered will prove the ultimate naivety. Subsidized ease will bring future hardship. And we'll wonder why we spurned and outsourced the wealth, beauty, exercise and meaning nature offers every fall.
Posted by Stephen Hiltner