Raking leaves; another meaningful Grassroots experiencePublished 10:10am Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Ah the good ‘ol days.
When people used to perform all sorts of heavy work with their bare hands, without the use of a machine or tool.
Kids used to walk 5 miles to school each way in the rain, sleet or snow; they used to do it uphill both ways mind you.
If you had to go somewhere you either walked or rode your trusty steed, with no use of fossil fuels to burn. You had to heat your house with a stove or fireplace, and cool off in the creek or with a block of ice. The trustworthy hand fan also worked wonders for those old timers.
As far as leaves go in the fall, get this – people used to literally rake them; by hand.With a real rake! No, seriously.
There were no blowers back in those days to pollute the air with noise and fumes. Just the two God given hands to pull that rake through the leaves. The laborious task of taking on the leaves single -handedly was not an option. It was the way. No calling the local handyman or landscape professional to come and “blow” them away for your convenience.
I, for one, was truly inspired by these thoughts this year. So me, being Mr. Grassroots himself, decided to use one such actual rake to pile up my leaves in order to get them out of harms way.
The thought of our forefathers having no other option other than grabbing Mr. Trusty Rake and going to work is really grounding and yet challenging. For me, it was a father and son affair. The joy of hearing the leaves rustle as we heaved and hoed through the blanket of leaves that covered the ground. The smell of dead leaves being whipped up from the ground, and permeating the air around you with the smell of fall. Memories last forever, especially when they involve you and your son, working together, with rakes in hand. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The point is that it gave me a grassroots experience that we take for granted every fall. It also nearly gave me callouses. What’s a few callouses on your hand when you are making memories with your kid and getting close to nature? Plus, we were able to work muscles we forgot we had.
For years I have used the old leaf blower. Earplugs in my ears, and trying to avoid the backlash of dust and fumes that saturated the air from the hand-held gasoline powered tornado (conveniently sold at your local hardware store).
I did quick work of the leaves in my yard with that blower of mine. I sure showed them who’s boss. Quickly and (somewhat) accurately I was able to pile them up in order to dispose of them. The only things it cost me were the cost for the gasoline/oil mixture, a near deaf experience, neighborhood noise pollution, and my arms hurting and vibrating for the next hour. The most important thing is I saved time.
Is that really most important?
An older and wiser friend of mine recently told me that in most Native American languages, there is no word for time. Interesting. No word for time? Time must not have been real important to them. It was about the experience.
If there was no word for time in our modern English language, things like leaf blowers, microwaves, fast food, speed limit and dishwashers may have never been invented. But thank the Lord above for dishwashers.
Time may not have been added to our vernacular if the need to track it wasn’t ever there. We’ve all grown up with the need to want a leaf blower to ease our labors – I sure have.
Picking up a rake helps to scrape up the time I feel is crouching at my door sometimes, and doing it with my son reminds me it’s not so bad to ignore the need for speed
Chris Jakubowicz lives in Tryon with his wife and children. His bi-weekly column will focus on how he and his family are trying to get back to their grassroots. Jakubowicz can be reached by email at email@example.com.