Kent Bernhardt: Please leaf me alone

Published 12:01 am Thursday, January 6, 2022

By Kent Bernhardt

It’s January, and I’m still raking leaves.

I thought I’d be through in November, at least by Thanksgiving, but they just keep coming. I know yesterday was a windy day so it’s only natural that I’d see a few new ones, but not the convention that is meeting in my front yard right now.

One of my neighbors thinks we may have built our homes over an ancient leaf burial ground, and now we’re living under a leaf curse. I see a lot of evidence for that line of thinking.

The leaves that make it to my yard when they leave the neighborhood trees are somehow blessed with extra eternal rewards, so my yard is some sort of spiritual destination in the leaf world.

Usually, I like to wait for most of the leaves to fall before I rake the first one, which means I don’t grab a rake or fire up the blower until early to mid-November. I see my neighbors out raking or blowing theirs all through October.  Why remove leaves from the yard when the majority of them are still sitting up in the trees gloating, I figure.

So I began raking in early November, hoping for the best. The leaf gods merely smirked at me and sent a curse upon my house, especially upon my gutters.  

No, I’ve never bought a set of those nifty leaf guards advertised on TV all hours of the day and night, and now I and my ladder are paying the price.  There’s just no relief.

My trees seem to grow new dead leaves just as soon as the old ones have departed. And when they fall in the wee hours of the morning, I can hear them laughing as they pass my bedroom window. Some of them mock me by yelling “Geronimo!”

OK, I may be exaggerating a little, but the problem seems much worse this year than in past years and I’m getting frustrated. 

So I ask you, are our trees producing more leaves than they used to? Is the same cosmic force that made toilet paper so scarce in 2020 producing a surplus of leaves now? What’s going on here? 

Do dead leaves mate in your yard and produce new dead leaves? I’d like scientists to examine that possibility.

I don’t have the answers to these questions.  I’m a simple man armed with a leaf blower and a rake…and sometimes a ladder. And it looks like I’ll be using all of them regularly until spring when we begin the cycle all over again.

For now, if you should happen to need extra leaves for any reason — maybe for your flower beds or a hearty leaf casserole — head over to my yard and help yourself.  I’m sure there will be plenty.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.