A month ago I looked out my study’s window and saw leaves swaying in an ocean of green. Today, these leaves have changed. The approaching winter has killed the green, allowing the warmer tones of orange, red, and yellow to carry on the reactions of life. Now, some leaves began to fall, at first one by one, but soon in gentle showers that I see gliding down air currents in an ever-changing pattern. As they settle on the ground, I am faced with a question: Should I rake?
The obvious answer seems to be yes. These leaves don’t fit the quintessential suburban lawn. The leaves are disorganized, messy, intrusive, impossible to control. They have no place in our lives, so we condemn them to black body bags cast out to the place of waste. We must have our lawns.
But I don’t believe in this image of a lawn. Pure reason dictates that we allow the fertilizer of nature to nurture the grass, shelter the insects, and protect the soil it becomes.
But this isn’t my reason. At heart, I simply don’t want the manicured grass to be the surface of my world. I want the incongruous patchwork of leaves coloring my life. I love the leaves crackling beneath my feet as they carry out the eternal dance of leaves and wind. I need this intrusion of nature into my civilized life.
Nature has her ways, and man has his ways. Nature is endlessly subtle, while man is given to the dramatic. Whether to rake the leaves or not is an example of man’s choice. Must we fight nature every step of the way, crushing her initiative, even when it’s in our best interest? Must we be nature’s enemy? Instead, I believe that we should let the leaves lie.
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