I have always hated leaf blowers and their attendant henchmen; the weed whacker and power mower. The gas powered engine noise rises up from every lawn in my neighborhood, separately so that every day of the week is scarred by the inconsistent whining of the engine. These hand machines pollute with fumes as well as noise and they completely lack charm or aesthetics.
With fingers in my ears I try to recall the calm of Japanese gardens: the soft swish of the brooms, the careful tending of each tree and plant, the beguiling beauty of every movement, every leaf. But as soon as I worked my way into that sense of Zen, another blower would fire up and shatter the peace gardening image with one of full Blackhawk assault.
Even our own gardener is armed with the damn things: mowing, blowing and hacking through the lawn and plants as if executing a siege. The equipment reduces his total hours certainly, and I don’t know if I want to pay him the extra hours to wield a broom. But it is emblematic of the whole loud, noisy American approach to anything, in this case, leaves and grass clippings.
Enter – our new house,
Our second home featured two initially attractive features – eleven full size cedar trees and a patio poured in 1960.
With each breeze, cedar parts rain down on the patio, filling the crevices of the worn, rough pre-summer of love cement. And for days I swept up the leaves, cedar parts and dust with a broom and grim Zen intent. Then I tried spraying the leaves, sticks and desiccated pinecones (the squirrels gnaw them down like corn on the cob). The water puddles, sighs and simply finds its own level, despite my fierce spraying. I curse our low water pressure – also created in 1960.
My husband had enough.
He purchased a leaf blower probably figuring the noise of the blower was equal to the noise I made while sweeping. He used the leaf blower while I was out of town. He assured me over the phone, that I would love the leaf blower and not to worry, it was electric and not noisy.
I was skeptical, but the broom action was not working, waterpower was not working, in defeat I plugged in the blower and tentatively gestured towards the cedar droppings.
Like a tornado, the tiny particles and a few larger sticks and masticated pine cones tumbled up into the air and off the ravaged cement patio. The leaves leapt and danced under my, yes, assault. Everything in my path – moved. Including the welcome mat and the dog’s water dish.
In less than five minutes – the patio was cleared of all debris. Dirt free.
Damn it looked good.
I promise to feel guilty every time I wield my new machine.