Yesterday I drove home after a long day at work, turned into my driveway, and realized that I could not wait another moment before raking the lawn. I stepped out of my car and saw what I'd ignored for weeks, fallen leaves that had engulfed my yard - and formed expanding colonies upon the lawns of my neighbors. Since it's so easy to sneak past the glares of those who live on my block, to click a button that closes the garage door behind me, I had no idea whether the discourteousness of our trees had annoyed my neighbors, or whether they had even noticed. But guilt caught up with me at last.
Still wearing my "dress-causal" clothes I grabbed a rake and dug in. For a moment I wondered at whether I should rake my neighbors' lawns without asking them, but I decided to risk the awkwardness and finish the job my trees had started. Five huge piles of dried, red leaves had accumulated as Jenny rode up on her bike. She was already tired and sweaty from her in-town commute from work, but I acquired her services nonetheless. I was possessed, determined to clean those yards. Within about a half-hour the leaves were gone, stuffed into our green bin.
Across the street, one of the neighborhood kids shouted "looks great!" and my embarrassment subsided. Her mom joined us and we chatted about our community's upcoming Halloween plans. They informed me that everyone is buzzing about our plans to outdo our previous porch displays (last year we did an alien autopsy), and I smiled with pride about our plans, offering only a few vague hints about this year's theme. After raking those leaves and talking about Halloween, I felt a burst of civic pride. Entering the house, removing socks drenched with the sweat of exertion and enjoying a cool shower, I thought to myself, Scotts Valley is a nice place to live.
Oh yeah, when I arrived home today: the trees had covered my yard again. Damn leaves.