I have a large maple and a horseshoe chestnut in my front yard median, between my sidewalk and the street. The chestnut is uproariously beautiful in the spring, sending out these vibrant magenta cone-like flowers that are simply stunning. The maple, too, has its own beauty to add to the neighborhood. They work in unison to block the heat in summer and offer some privacy to my small yard. In autumn, their leaves fall. And fall. And fall.

I have been watching this process with interest and much joy (see earlier blog entry), knowing that, eventually, I would be picking up all that colorful confetti. Sunday was the day. Emma and I set out, rakes in hand (hers in the shape of a giraffe, which I feel is a bit unfair), to tackle the leaves. We raked and raked and raked, creating large piles. We jumped with no lack of glee into these piles and covered each other until only our noses were visible. We raked some more. Eventually, I started bagging them, and that was about the time that Em lost complete interest.

So my front yard sat abandoned and sort of sad…the leaf bagging project maybe 1/4 completed.

Em and I headed to a Halloween gathering and when we arrived home, I noticed my neighbors has cleared their own yard. Then I noticed that my piles were gone, like magic, like the leaf elves had come. My neighbors had picked up my leaves. Let me repeat that…my neighbors picked up my leaves. Who does this? I was humbled and stunned, not by the fact that somebody would do something selfless and generous without an agenda, but because it was absolutely the perfect thing somebody could have done to help me. It saved me hours.

My mother arrives Wednesday for a visit. I have essays to grade. Haven’t been feeling 100%, etc. How in the heck was I going to make time to get these damn leaves bagged? Problem solved, thanks to the angels next door.

Acts of kindness completely unground me from time to time, occurring when I least expect them. I vow to do more for others without expectation–yes, the adage “pay it forward” comes to mind.

Thanks, neighbors.


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