When I was a kid, fall weekends were eagerly anticipated and dreaded in equal parts. There was nothing I loved more than adventuring through the woods, planning a Halloween outfit or finding a warm spot in front of the wood stove in which to plant myself with a book. Sadly, none of these pleasures were to be partook until the leaves were raked.

I love trees, but not in those fall days of my childhood. I cursed their endless leafy droppings and the play time their presence ate into. Raking is not like mowing, either. When you mow, you can sit back for a few days and admire the job done. Or at least know that the next mow won’t happen for a few days. With raking, it’s literally a Sisyphean task: just when you think you’ve raked the last leaf, the trees drop more. It’s endless.

In my older years, however, I’ve grown to like yard work. It’s thinking time and physical activity rolled into one. My parents didn’t do the sit down mower, leaf blower or snow blower. Yard work = sweat. I appreciate that, now.

And so I mourn the death of the rake and that old-fashioned method for removing leaves from yards. You didn’t know it was dead? Yes, it just passed away, yesterday morning. I came across its corpse while on my early morning constitutional. From down the road I heard the din of Leaf-Raking’s murderers at work, and as I rounded the corner I witnessed the scene above. No less than four leaf blowers and one sit-down mower equipped with a leaf-plow, all going to town on one lawn. One. Lawn.

It stank of everything lazy in America. That and fumes.

I realize time is short in everyone’s life these days. Hire a cleaner. Contract a landscaper. Pay the plow guy. But I think we lose touch with our own property when we constantly ask others to look after it. We miss out on the meditative time that yard work provides. And, judging by America’s expanding waistline, we certainly miss out on the exercise.

The movement begins here. Put America To Yard Work. Leave a comment if you want to join.