Monday, November 2, 2009

The Magical Leaf-Raking Fairy

We spent this past weekend at the cabin, cleaning up the leaves. The discouraging weather forecast proved to be accurate—the temperature Saturday was in the thirties, accompanied by steady, light rain mixed with a bit of snow. But it was the only weekend we could clear for the task, and we have dealt with similar conditions in the past. The new wrinkle this year was my hernia repair less than three weeks ago. I am restricted to lifting no more than ten pounds, and am supposed to limit twisting and turning my torso. Which pretty much precluded raking wet leaves, and absolutely meant I would not be heaping them onto a tarp and dragging them across the road and into the woods. My strategy was to have Susan spread the leaves out as best she could while I mulched them with the lawn tractor. It was slow work—the tractor was straining at its very limit mulching several inches of wet leaves—but after more than ten years together my lawn tractor and I are One. I was glad that I had given it a tune-up and oil change; grateful than Mike and Brad had installed new blades for me. Over the course of nearly four hours and several gallons of gas, I managed to reduce wet leaves to a thin layer of disgusting gook. Mission accomplished.

Susan was not at all certain that wrestling with the lawn tractor was a particularly wise thing to do while recovering from surgery, and she had a point – that effort, along with the other small tasks I could not quite manage to resist, left me fairly sore, as I had expected. I prefer a bit of soreness to facing an acre of soggy leaves next May. But I was pretty uncomfortable driving home on Sunday morning, and found myself thinking about the yard full of leaves I would find in the yard when I reached home. Somewhere around the Wisconsin border we had one of those marital debates that I knew I was not going to win. Susan had school work that she simply had to get done, so (he argued, logically) there was no reason in the world why I could not do it. It was a perfect day for raking—dry with a bit of breeze, so the leaves would be light and easy to rake. I would be very mindful of how I used my body, raking only in a straight line. Susan was having none of it.

When we pulled into the driveway the entire front yard was already neatly raked! Magical Fairies had come and done the job for me! I was profoundly grateful, but also eager to thank whoever had done me this kindness. There was no note in the door, no message on the answering machine, no email or Facebook posting. My mysterious benefactor was choosing to remain anonymous.

I confess that I am not at all comfortable with circumstances where I cannot repay a debt, or even express my thanks. So I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and considered various suspects. I finally settled on a certain neighbor as the most likely candidate. When I bumped into his daughter walking her dog later in the afternoon, I asked her what she might know about Magical Leaf-Raking Fairies. She likely now regards me as the slightly deranged neighbor.

Today I got home from work and found Dan, another neighbor, mulching and mowing my side yard. In this case I was able to express my thanks, and asked him if he had observed a Magical Fairy raking my yard. He had, but did not recognize him. He (the Fairy) was bundled up and using some sort of cart; Dan was pretty sure he was not my prime suspect.

If my mysterious benefactor reads this, I would be grateful if you would come out of the closet and confess that you are a Fairy. But if you choose not to, know that I am grateful!

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