` This is a fable about the conflict between a leaf blower who works for a landscaping company, and a tree.
The setting is fall in Syracuse, New York. A perfectly-shaped red maple tree that grew in the middle of a lawn was shedding its leaves. There was no wind so leaf fall was straight down. A beautiful pattern of red encircled the tree. Set against a bright green lawn, Bright autumn sunshine gave the neighborhood a picture post card scene. The tree still had some attached leaves.
Along came Hector’s Landscape Service truck. Moments after Hector parked at the curb next to the house, Jose strapped a motorized leaf blower onto his back and started walking toward the perfect circle of red fallen red maple leaves beneath the attractive framework set against a dark blue sky.
Jose pulled the starter cord and started blowing the leaves toward the curb. Meanwhile, Hector pulled the power mower down the truck ramp, pulled the starter cord, and started mowing the fresh, tender lawn. Both workers had ear protection. They had no clue that while they were working, tiny screams arose from red leaves and blades of grass. Their screams were completely drowned out by the mower and blower.
Just about this time, a boy passed by riding his bicycle. He lost his balance when he didn’t see the landscape truck in time and fell onto the lawn. Before he started to stand up, he heard faint screams from the tumbling leaves. He was puzzled. He laid back down on the grass with his face toward the ground. “What’s going on?” he said to himself. Just then, Hector and Jose shut down their machines to take their lunch break. Now the boy could hear the screams clearly with no background noise.
One of the leaves right next to the boys ear spoke. “You’ve got to help us. We are being taken away from our tree. We are being catapulted and kidnapped. They are torturing us. We disconnected from our mother as we always do every fall. We fall beneath our mother and wait to decompose so we can go back into her and start to grow new leaves next spring. Please speak to the owner to leave us be. Let us do our natural role. He is breaking our cycle. The noise, the pollution, and no leaves left under the tree is bad for the mother. She needs us. We serve the world many ways. We make shade, we make oxygen, we absorb carbon dioxide, and we fertilize.”
The boy listened and agreed with the red leaf. He stood up and walked over to Hector and Jose and told them the whole story. “the owner hired us to clean off the lawn and cut it. This is our job. We are here to make the lawn free of leave and cut so it looks nice.”
The boy walked up and rang the doorbell. A woman answered. “Hello. Can I help you?” The boy told her the story. The woman called her husband. The boy told the story to him. “I loved seeing the red circle of maple leaves beneath the tree.” She said. “I don’t.” said her husband. I hired Hector and Jose to make our property look as nice as all the others in the neighborhood.” I hired Hector and Jose because I like them and I want to pay them so they can feed their families.”
The boy got back on his bicycle and peddled home. He told the story to his parents. “I know that lawn. I pass it every day on the way to work. I loved seeing the beautiful red circle of leaves under that tree. It’s a shame to loose it.” The father decided to talk to them. “Your lawn was the most beautiful place on this block. Every day, both coming and going to work, I’d slow down to view your red maple tree and lawn and red leaf circle. It is magical. It made my day. I wished I had such beauty in my yard. I love it so much that I want to propose a solution. My son says he hear those leaves screaming.” “What do you want?” “I will pay you to pay Hector and Jose NOT to blow the leaves away.”
The man was startled that someone would go to that extent to wait a full year to be able to see that circle of red maple leaves setting perfectly still on that green lawn under the bare branches. “I’ll think about it.” The owner said.
The boy agreed with his father. He rode his bike back to the house and laid down on the grass. He heard nothing, no screaming. He had hoped to convince the owner that he was hurting his leaves. Just as the boy was about to leave, he hear a faint scream. He saw a single leaf that escaped the blower. He lay down with his ear next to the leaf. Now he heard the screaming. “I need to have the owner hear you. My father wants to help too. He wants to keep on seeing the beautiful circle of red around the tree.” “How can I help.? I will invite the father the hear you scream. When he comes, scream as hard as you can and tell him your story. Perhaps you will be able to help all the fallen leaves to see the benefit of letting them be.”
The leaf agreed. The boy knocked on the door and asked the man to follow him to the place on his lawn where the leaf was waiting. “please lay down and put your ear next to this leaf.” “Why?” said the man. “When I fell off my bike onto your lawn the day Jose was blowing your leaves to the curb, I hear screaming. It was the leaves. Listen.”
The man laid down and snuggled his ear right next to the red leaf. The leaf screamed and pleaded.”Help us please. We need to stay put where we fall under the tree to nourish it for next spring.”
The man was astounded. He jumped up. “Ah ha. I never thought a leaf could scream and talk and plead. I will talk to Jose and Hector. They depend on their fee. I want them to work to make my landscape clean and beautiful like all the other homeowners on the block.”
The man decided to plant more trees and let leaves of the red maple tree in the middle of his lawn remain. “I didn’t know that other people in the neighborhood admired my leaves. I will give Hector and Jose other jobs trimming shrubs and pruning branches.”
Several years passed. The trees on the man’s property dropped their leaves in the fall. They created lovely circles underneath. People in cars slowed down, bikers, joggers, walkers, women pushing baby carriages all admired the beautiful circles of leaves beneath those tree. Slowly, neighbors began to plant their own trees. They too wanted to let the trees create beauty.
As fall gave way to winter, strong winds blew the leaves away. Natures leaf blower caressed the leaves as they left their trees. These leaves didn’t scream. They danced and bounced and tumbled away.
Tom Stock November, 11, 2017
He has published two books; THE NISSEQUOGUE RIVER: A JOURNEY and HIDDEN AGENDA; A POETRY JOURNEY.He has also published many essays and poems in such journals as the Long Island Forum and The Long Islander.
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