November 16, 2010

Raking Leaves in the Wind

Sometimes, when I’m out walking with Gretchen and the other dogs, titles for stories come to me and lean close to Gretchen and say, “Hey, write this one down.” She does and then later, when we come back home, I comb through the list,  think back about the day and then choose the best title. Well today, “Raking Leaves in the Wind” was the best title, but for the life of me, I can’t remember what I was going to write about.

I do remember watching a neighbor with a very large rake in her gloved hands scraping the sidewalk of leaves as the wind blew a fury and all those “raked” leaves danced up the street, unraked. I laughed. I felt bad about laughing the second it happened, but still, I was struck by both the courage she had to attempt such a chore and the futility of the continued endeavor. But as the wind gusted and spurted, howled and moaned she lifted, dropped, and drug that rake across the thick pile of leaves over and over.

I suppose I should give her credit for her persistence. If there were not wind, her job would have been completed quickly and efficiently. But the wind was more persistent and extended her chore every time they heavy air pushed up the street. She never gave up, but she also missed quite a few leaves, which I suppose, is the other irony of this story — now the neighbors have more leaves to rake.

“Why do humans do that?” I asked Gretchen.

“Do what?” she asked, apparently not really paying attention to the woman raking leaves in the wind.

And then I was sort of stuck trying to figure out which question I really wanted to ask — why do humans persist when it’s an uphill battle? Why are humans obsessed with cleaning up leaves? Why do humans use those leaf blowers just pushing all the leaves into someone else’s yard? Why don’t humans wait until the conditions are more favorable?

There were more questions then I could hold in my head and so I said, “Never mind. It’s no big deal.”

“Are you sure, Rubes?” she asked.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” I said, “because some days it’s just too hard to put human behavior into words.”

Gretchen smiled, gave me a gentle rub behind my ears, and said, “Let’s just enjoy that it’s not raining, okay buddy? No need to contemplate the deeper meaning behind humanity.”

No truer words were spoken today and so, like any dog worth his salt, I gave up the philosophy and enjoyed the fact that we missed walking in the rain. All of our clients enjoyed it too…

Ollie (though see the dark clouds behind him above the lake?)…


Saber and Gemma…

and, of course,  me…

Until tomorrow,


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