I saw one of my neighbors filling bags with mulched leaves and grass a couple of days ago as I was driving by. He had a riding mower with a collection container in the back, and he was stacking the bags in an orderly fashion next to the curb. They looked so good I made a mental note to come back later and get some of them.
I’m building a lasagna bed for pollinator-attracting flowers right next to my vegetable garden and I want lots of good greens and browns to layer over the fall and winter so it will be ready in the spring.
This morning I had the chance to get the bags so I drove up and parked right beside them. I got out and opened the hatch of my station wagon and picked up the first bag. Or tried to.
It was heavy. It took every ounce of strength I had to hoist it up into the car. The leaves and grass were finely shredded, perfect for composting, but, boy did it make for one colossal, heavy bag. It was thin plastic, too, and the sun had been warm and weakened the bag. It tore a bit, but managed to stay together.
I should have listened to my better sense and quit while I was ahead. But . . . there was plenty of room for another bag, and it was such good stuff. I checked out the remaining bags, looking for a smaller one, but they were all monsters like the first one. I grabbed one and slid it toward the road. It was already tearing. I thought for a second to leave it, but it was just too tempting. I’ve never given up with one measly bag before. I kept on.
It wasn’t looking good. It was fighting me. It was huge and unwieldy. Every place I grabbed gave way and tore like tissue. I tried to heft it, summoning an adrenaline rush, but it was collapsing all over me. It was too late to quit. I was beyond the point of no return and the fine leaf particles and dust were spilling all over the street, all over me, all over the hatch.
You’ve got to get in the car, I pleaded with it. I was spluttering, grabbing, shoving, covered in dirt, trying not to breathe in the fine particles. A good third of the contents was all over the road.
If this were a romance novel, this would be the point where the object of the heroine’s unrequited crush drives by and sees her half buried in leaves, smudged with schmutz and spitting debris out of her mouth.
But it wasn’t.
I was making a scene. I couldn’t leave piles of leaves and a mangled bag right there in front of this person’s house. I grabbed armfuls of the stuff and shoved it right in the back of the car, all over the place. There was so much of it. Finally the road looked reasonably clean.
Where were my keys? Under all those leaves, of course.
I dug through the loose leaves trying to avert my face away from the cloud of dirt until I finally felt them. I slammed the hatch door shut and got in the car as quickly as I could and sat there in the driver’s seat and tried to catch my breath.
So, if you happened to have driven past some nut job scraping leaves off the road this morning with her hands, well, nice to meet you.