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Saturday essay: Fall's frustration

| Friday, Oct. 18, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

In many locales this year, fall's glory seemed to fizzle rather than pop. Spots of color, in a few cases brilliant, appeared here and there. Then in short order, those manifestations of the changing seasons began to flutter to the ground, gradually but surely piling up.

It's an injustice that the majesty of fall passed so quickly, transitioning into what for many will be weeks of collecting, composting or otherwise cursing the fallen leaves. As memory serves, this year's cleanup began much earlier than in previous years, as if an impatient winter were trying to cheat fall out of its full stay. And that truly would be an injustice.

Whether you rake 'em, mulch 'em, bag 'em, blow 'em or collect 'em in a big tarp for disposal elsewhere, the fallen leaves combine for a joyless task. They fall on their own schedule, not yours. And after you rake and pile and collect them, your property will look just as cluttered within 24 hours from the time you put down the rake.

The alternative, of course, is to wait for all the leaves to come down and deal with that compounded mess in one long cleanup. But even that is no sure bet. On my property there's a stubborn oak, a holdout, that each year retains its leaves for weeks after all the other trees have shed theirs.

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree,” wrote English novelist and poet Emily Bronte. Obviously in the aftermath of fall's grandeur, she never spent hours on end raking leaves.

— Bob Pellegrino

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