Now comes my favorite time of year. When fields morph into all shades of brown, filled with burrs and other stuff that stick to your wooly sweaters, pants and socks, and the warm October sun shines down upon trees whose leaves once dressed in Summer green, now magically painted in beautiful yellows, oranges and reds which in no time at all will fall gently and quietly to Mother earth to crunch beneath our feet; thence to be disposed of in a variety of ways.
When I was a kid, burning leaves was the prevalent disposal du jour, and neighborhood skies and air were filled with a wonderful smoky fragrance that told us Fall was finally here, with winter trailing not far behind. Touch a match to a pile of leaves today and the environmentalists will smoke you!
But, since city folk couldn’t spell “compost” in those days, it was how we got rid of them. But first, it was important to create great heaps of leaves in which to hide or belly-flop. That was when kids used to have fun out-of-doors, before the advent of electronic games played indoors where the only “leaves” patiently await their entrance on Thanksgiving Day when the dining room table needs to be expanded to include “the relatives,” including weird Uncle Myron.
Weird person that I am, I still loved to rake leaves as an adult, into great rustling piles, scooping them on to a plastic tarp and dragging them off to compost their little hearts out, eventually beneath the ermine cloak of winter; others staying behind to mulch our gardens. Autumn leaves deserve a more reverent send off than being ground to chaf, or being sucked up through a giant hose into one of those little enclosed carts pulled behind a mower.
Or, yes, being incinerated.
As a true connoisseur with a keen understanding of the art of gathering leaves, I happen to prefer the large, old-fashioned bamboo rake, light-weight and guaranteed to provide a much wider swath than those more narrow steel jobs. Actually many bamboo-looking rakes are made of poly today, not bamboo, so you really have to cast an eagle eye for the real McCoy. Much to my delight, I discovered a jumbo 30” wide bamboo model while trudging through the forest of available styles on my computer. But much to my chagrin, it was priced at $70. In my belly-flopping days you could have bought about 14 of them for that amount.
On the other hand my guess is that more homeowners own modern exercise equipment today costing ten-times that much, or more. My suggestion is that for $70, or as little as $15 or less, they could buy an “exercise rake” that would do twice as much good for their physical and mental well-being in the great out-of-doors than any sun-room full of anti-aging exercise equipment. Put another way, I prefer bamboo shoulders over oaken abs. If you question whether a rake is a worthwhile investment, read the following fantasy reviews from satisfied customers at my website: ww.lovemyrake/leaf.org
– “Love my rake!! The family is now asking me to show them how to use it! Don’t wait 20 years like I did, get a rake now!!
– “I use my rake every day after work. Saves me money on a membership and I can rake on my own time. If you like to do “squats” though, this product does not like to do that.
– “Assembly was pretty straight forward. I took my time and read the instructions step by step: (1) put on gloves. (2) begin raking. Piece a cake. Love the quality of my rake. Particularly its quiet operation.
– “I’m getting such a bigger variety of exercises and feel I’m getting a better total body workout. Love my rake so far.
– “Been a gym rat forever. I remember seeing rake commercials way back when and thought how can a mere rake get me strong? But, I took a gamble. Man was I surprised!!! My rake gives me a complete work out!!
– “I use my new rake 3-5 times a week and enjoy it. The transition from pumping weights to raking has been very challenging, but rewarding!
– “The great thing about my rake is its compact size. I really enjoy being able to exercise out of doors. I’d like to rake indoors on rainy days too, but my wife nixed the idea of bringing a pile of leaves into the living room.
– “Been raking for six weeks now. Go to my Facebook page and see my before and after “shoulder” photos. Wow! And Fall has just started!
– “I’ve only been using my rake for 3 weeks, but feel great and look forward to using it every day. I plan to grow more trees for a bigger crop of leaves next Fall. Meantime, my kids are getting their exercise too, shaking down extra leaves for me after school.”
So, dear reader, you can see the obvious benefits of raking leaves reported by these satisfied rakers. For those looking for extended workouts beyond October, please Google “snow shovels.”
Mel Grossman is a local resident and guest columnist.