Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Ode to Raking.

What did I do with my day off this week? Power washed the green off the shady side of my house, made lunch, then mowed and raked my lawn.

Pretty exciting, eh?

Sounds like a Facebook status update.

Call me crazy, but I actually enjoyed it. There's something about facing something that needs fixing, cleaning, or straightening, investing some physical effort, and when it's all done, having something to show for it. For me, it was a shiny white back side of my house and a clean yard.

If you're a homeowner, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you too spent a chunk of this past weekend raking leaves into piles and wheel-barreling them to the woods or the compost pile. Hopefully, when you were done, you took a few minutes to jump in the biggest pile.

There are many ways to purge your yard of leaves. Of course, the classic is with a good old-fashioned rake and a fistful of leaf bags from the local hardware store. Another fine approach is with your lawn mower and its handy bag attachment. A third method is with the relatively new contraption called a leaf blower, noisy sister to the jet ski. The leaf blower never seemed quite accurate enough for my leaf-gathering efforts. Looks to me like you're just herding leaves into a general area of your yard, where I would imagine you ultimately still have to reach for the trusty rake and bag the leaves anyway.

I suppose I should include another option - hiring someone to do the job for you, thereby delegating the decision of which method to use. For the time-crunched, probably not a bad option, although I have a feeling that cold one afterward just isn't quite as satisfying. And of course, that's going to cost you a few dollars, the same ones might better spent on a sundae at your favorite scoop shop or flowers for the little lady.

So, I'd venture a theory that, in most cases, it's the good, old-fashioned rake and a couple hours in the crisp Autumn air. I'm sure most people would rather prefer to catch an afternoon nap in the backyard hammock or watch a football game than rake leaves, and I certainly had more than a few thoughts of other things I could be doing when I was out there, but I'd still argue it's not the worst chore in the homeowner's handbook. It's not that strenuous. You're outside in the fresh air. There's little thinking involved, so your mind is free to wander where it chooses. The constant shooshing sound of the rake against the leaves and the ground lulling you into a calm delta state, not unlike the sound of crashing waves or rain against the roof.

Ok, so maybe this doesn't happen to everyone, but for me it was a nice change from the constant grind of eight freezer compressors in the shop.

If it's a big yard with lots of trees, raking it can seem daunting. Like your driveway after an all-night nor'easter. But I'd argue those are the yards/driveways that are the greatest source of home care satisfaction. Just think, you probably pay a monthly fee to a place with 'fitness' in the name just to burn same amount of calories. You should be grateful for such prolific trees and the widest driveway on your street.

Perhaps grateful isn't a word that's come to mind the morning after a big snowstorm.

You probably think I'm nuts for admitting I enjoy raking, and we can certainly still be friends if you don't share my enthusiasm for yard work. Maybe I just had a little too much free thinking time while I raked, or that I just yearned to do something beside make ice cream, I'm not sure. But as I sat in my little plastic deck chair, celebratory beverage in hand, as I admired my newly groomed yard, I felt pretty satisfied. Good old-fashioned hard work, an afternoon outside, some quality thinking time, and a couple chores off my to-do list. Not too bad.

Life really is simple. We just choose to make it complicated.

Thanks for listening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome post.completely agree. call you in 30 minutes