(I was originally going to title this "OBERRAKEKREIGSTURMFUHRER" but it has taken a while to write this and someone else beat me to the punch.)
Certain people have taken note of my emphasis on raking in some of my recent Facebook postings. This has caused me to step back -- without, however, putting down the rake -- and ask myself, "So what is it with the raking?"
The answer came to me as I walked our dog yesterday morning through the swirling leaves, which, since they all reeked of squirrel, were frequent targets of opportunity for Gracie. When I was growing up in Upstate New York, our house was surrounded by big trees, mostly Norway Maple, whose large yellow leaves were among the last to drop in the fall. In fact, we often had our first snow flurries before the leaves hit the ground, and I remember my parents being eager to get the leaves off the lawn before the snow covered them. (I can attest personally to the difficulty of raking leaves through an inch of snow.)
I have always enjoyed raking, first for the preliminary work required for making leaf piles to jump into, and now just for the enjoyment of it and the easily-seen results. I write this with last week's perfect fall weekend in mind, not with today's twenty-degree drop in temperature with accompanying high winds, but still. I think, though, that some of the urgency of raking before the snow arrived has survived atavistically, so that when I see leaves on the ground and in the air I reflexively think "Gotta rake."
My enjoyment of raking, meanwhile, has come full circle and returned to the delight of preliminary leaf-pile preparation, if not for myself:
Do I mind re-raking the pile together? Not in the least.
Late Sunday Update: I actually did not lay hand to rake today, deciding instead to spend the better part of the late afternoon/twilight putting up our birdfeeder and, in so doing, carrying on my parents' part in the Long Defeat known as the Squirrel Wars. Morgoth has nothing on the legions of fluffy rodents massing for the descent upon the rich agricultural surpluses of a decadent West.