November 10, 2003

A Man and His Leaves

Self Portrait with Leaf Blowing Nozzle As sure as Indian Summer recedes, falling leaves ensue. That means it’s time for the Gates’ annual Falling Leaf Blowing Festival.

Whereas last year’s festivities were attended by millions (of leaves), this year’s numbers are way down. The threat of terrorism nor the 80-degree weather wasn’t to blame, although I did discover that raking is much more pleasant when dressed only in a Gap T (I’m trying to court product placement for next year’s Festival). Up and down the block it is the talk of the neighborhood: Hurricane Isabel prematurely blew off a major portion of the audience for our fall classic.

Past years’ celebrations have been copiously reported both here and in the Washington Post, and include an award-winning documentary, Leaving: the Movie (2.2 MB, Quicktime required). So I will be brief. I blew for almost 3 hours yesterday and that was just the front yard. The backyard still beckons.

When I was done, my left hand, which did the bulk of the work aiming my Toro electric leaf blower for maximum effect, wouldn’t stop shaking for the rest of the day. And my youngest daughter now refuses to hold my hand (even though THE HAND has stopped it’s involuntary palsy). “It’s too scary,” she reports. Indeed it is.

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