October! The thrill of crisp, cool air, gently weaving its way through the sun-baked furnace of summer. We can feel it coming... sweater weather! Pumpkins and spices and all things Halloween will soon be here. Baked apples! Hot chocolate! And glorious leaves in bright colors, red, gold, yellow, purple!
Welcome to my favorite month, and everything it brings. Everything but but one: leaf blowers.
In these days of semi-isolation, the favored method of stress reduction at our house comes in the form of daily walks in the beautiful autumn weather. Living in the heart of the city, we're abutted by a large city park and old, established neighborhoods. So many interesting things to see: squirrels, rabbits, and more varieties of birds than I can name. Matter of fact, our neck of the woods is a bird-watcher's paradise, especially when the seasons change.
And trees. Lots of trees. Autumn is lovely around here. Except for the leaf blowers.
Who was the hare-brained tinkerer who invented those infernal machines?
We're surrounded by all kinds of urban noise—the hum of rush-hour traffic, punctuated with the occasional horn honks and brake squeals, the clatter of garbage trucks, the whine of first responders' sirens. When you live in a city long enough, it all fades into the background. Except the infernal bray of a leaf blaster. It can penetrate the thickest walls. At 100 decibels or more, it can also cause permanent hearing loss.
That's not the worst of it. In addition to the noise, there's the air pollution they create by stirring up dirt, dust, and pollen. We're often forced to change course on our walks to avoid a whirlwind of detritus or the gag-inducing fumes belched from those gas-powered nuisances.
And even that's not all. When those lovely autumn leaves fall, guys armed with leaf blowers often shoot leaves farther along the street until they wind up in the neighbor's yard. Worse, some operators force bushels of leaves down into street gutters, which clogs our drainage systems and sets a neighborhood up for possible flooding during the next downpour.
Whatever happened to rakes, mulching, compost heaps, and trash bags?
Please, I beg you—landscape servicers and gardeners everywhere—put down your leaf blasters and buy rakes. Be good stewards of what is left of our land and air. Return us to the days of yore, when there was virtue in gently tending our urban gardens. Abandon your tools of destruction and open your senses to clear air and the sound of birdsong.
Those who know me, know I'm not usually this grouchy. It's just that finding peace and quiet is harder than it used to be. Let's outlaw leaf blowers. There's already too much other stuff blowin' in the wind.
Some cheery news before I sign off: The Body Next Door, Book 2 in the award-winning Samantha Newman Mystery Series is only $0.99 this week. It's a fun roller-coaster of a mystery, so if you're looking for light, engaging entertainment, simply click here to pick up your copy!
Gay Yellen writes the award-winning Samantha Newman Mysteries, including The Body Business, The Body Next Door, and the soon to be released Body in the News.