honest songs, honestly sung
singer and songwriter ben bruce

blog > The Futility of Raking Leaves

Dec 4th, 2008

Her cheeks were flush with exertion and frustration.

We were involved only insomuch as we were observers. Walking home one day, we came upon a woman — a “new” woman to the neighborhood, we surmise, because none of us had ever seen her before — and she emanated frustration and anger1.

We (of course) peered across the street at her, trying to divine why it was that this person was so annoyed — and it was easy to see. She was deep into the ridiculous effort of raking the boulevard2; it’s possible that she had cleared a hundred square yards of grass, building mounds of wet leaves that must have been incredibly heavy3.

She might not have been swearing but she gave off the sense of swearing, and her cheeks were flush with exertion and frustration; it seemed like she was pissed that no one was helping her with this chore.

We walked on, trying to make sense of what we had just seen, because in our neighborhood, the Parks department comes and cleans up the leaves with riding lawnmowers.

1 We felt this separately but agreed with each other later when we were discussing the experience.

2 It’s hard to describe this, but the boulevard is wide and long — it’s a job that’s quite simply impossible for a regular person to do by themselves.

3 Another odd thing is that it hadn’t even really reached the point where one would want to rake the leaves. They were still beautiful colors and the boulevard was still a place to build leaf piles and play.

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