Keeping Perspective in a Busy Season

By: Julie Day


I wonder if they’ve ever tasted the mulberries from this tree?

This morning, I’d like to be pondering the many ways that gardening increases our sense of beauty, harmony, and self-sufficiency—especially as we move into the quiet starkness of winter—except that my thoughts are completely blasted to bits by the three (yes, three) backpack leaf-blowers hard at work in the neighbor’s yard. And after they finish relocating every leaf, twig, and gnat within a half-mile radius; they’ll come back with a truckload of store-bought, triple-ground, hardwood mulch to spread underneath all those now-chilly trees and shrubs.

Oh, wait. Now, the three leaf-blowers are standing in a circle, aiming a cloud of leaves at a huge riding lawn mower, which is spinning in circles (shredding and vacuuming the leaves, I guess) like a dancing elephant in a tutu made of greenhouse gases. Sorry, I’m entranced – or rather, assaulted – by this display, not to mention the noise. The only thing that could make this better is if, after they’re finished, they all go to the gym to work out those muscles that could have been used to pull a rake.

I’m not a totally unplugged gardener—at least, not yet—although I’m happiest with tools that don’t scare away the birds. But it’s so easy to get caught up in chores and tasks and forget our actual purpose, to let our desire for things to be “just right” distract us from the rightness of things just as they are.

In the fall, the leaf crusade is only the beginning. In just a few weeks, the holiday season will kick into high gear, inviting us—if we’re not careful—to work ourselves silly while completely missing the point.

Thankfully, nature reminds us of our purpose with quite a sense of humor, if we just get outdoors and look around. In fact, nature is laughing right now, in the form of a breeze that is fluttering bright yellow mulberry leaves down onto that perfect green lawn next door.

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