When R and I were first talking home ownership, I had a long list of things that I NEEDED in a new home, like 10+ acres, a white picket fence, a walk-in pantry, a laundry room big enough to leave the ironing board set up all the time, and mature trees.
When the reality of $$ vs. availability of amenities vs. OH DEAR GOD MY MORTGAGE IS GOING TO BE HOW MUCH???!?!?!? set in, I walked away with exactly one of those things.
And 10 months out of the year, they keep me cool and shaded, provide a place for the crazy-ass birds to nest, and generally make me happy.
I think they're beautiful.
Nothing calms me and focuses me and makes me happy as much as sitting outside in the sunshine and listening to the wind rustle the leaves on my trees. The trees, are, quite literally, my happy place.
And then there are the other two months of the year. The months directly after the leaves turn the brilliant colors of autumn and the months before the snow covers the ground.
You know, fall.
And for those couple months every year, my trees stress me out.
See, here's the thing.
I LIKE the leaves all over my yard.
I think they're pretty.
If I had my 10+ acres with no neighbors in sight, I'd leave them be and bask in their rustling glory as they blew around my yard and landed there again and again.
But I don't have 10+ acres. Instead, I have neighbors. Treeless neighbors. Treeless neighbors who, for two months out of the year, stop waving at me and send me ugly "clean up your damn yard because your leaves are blowing in MY yard" vibes.
So I try.
For a few years I would rake and rake and rake and rake, only to have the wind blow my carefully placed leaf piles away into my neighbors' yards before I could actually do anything with them.
Then a couple years ago, I decided I would just use the mower and chop them all up. It's like mulch, right? That worked SLIGHTLY better, in that the leaves blowing into my neighbors yard were chopped up into little pieces instead of whole.
Then this year, R, who was probably exhausted of hearing me stress and obsess about the leaves, bought me a bagger attachment for the mower.
I waited until the yard was thick with leaves, carefully read the directions, assembled the bagger, and I was off.
In under an hour, my yard was completely leaf free.
I patted myself on the back. I am so awesome! I have taken care of the leaf situation once and for all!
A couple hours later as I passed by my front window, I glanced out my front window and saw...
LEAVES!!!! THEY WERE BACK!!! Who put the leaves back in my yard?!?!?! It's a conspiracy!!!
So back out I went. And did it all over again.
Whew. All better now.
Until a little later, when I saw... MORE FLIPPIN' LEAVES!!!
So it's become a battle of wills between me and the leaves.
Every day, sometimes twice, I hook up my bagger and go at it.
Every day, more leaves fall.
At some point I realized the futility of this, but I still couldn't stop.
It had become a THING in my mind, a thing I had to do.
Then one day I just didn't have time to do my leaf collection. Too many errands to run, too many other things on my plate...
And it hurt, but I made it through.
And the next day, even though it was hard, I made myself NOT touch the leaves.
So now I'm on a once a week kind of leaf collection deal now.
And it doesn't make me happy, exactly, but it will do.
After all, we should get some snow before too long.