It is a privilege to live under the direct patronage of an Ent, but every autumn, there is a terrible price to be paid. Here, Spouse contemplates the invigorating exercise, the productive composting, and the all-around seasonal gemütlichkeit of raking up the foliage of a four-story-high silver maple.
If we wait long enough, many of the leaves will blow down the block to other people's lawns. (Isn't that the same strategy you pay for when the guys come around with leaf blowers? I've always wanted to see a face-off between two landscaping crews, blowing the same leaves back and forth across one property line.) Meanwhile, leaves gather on the front steps like handsome carpet runners.
And of course, there are the gutters. Each year, wild men emerge from deep inside Fangorn Forest (or someplace), ring the bell, and offer to clean the gutters. Some of these strangers have snaggle teeth and crossed eyes; none ever appear to have ladders. We send them away. Some years we try to clean the gutters ourselves, which involves Buster Keatonish near-death experiences (we, unfortunately, do have a ladder). And occasionally I take bids from a semi-respectable roofer type of person. But roofers are almost as crazy as electricians. One bellowed at me, "My men and I won't touch 'em if there's one leaf--one leaf!--left on dat tree!" (Uncertain I could meet his conditions, I bid him farewell.)
When it's all over, we will have the makings of next summer's glorious compost, to be added to the pile about one bag per month until next May. By the way, can you find the missing board in the soffit in the picture above? It's the Freeway of Love for Bagel the Squirrel and his whole family to enter our joists. (Where they jostle and rejoice.) If I point it out to you before you point it out to me, you won't have to remind me that we really should fix that, y'know.