Leaves all over the place

| Nature and universe | 2 Comments

A wonderful sculpture or just a mess?After the now famous and deadly storm had briskly left our area as quickly as it had invaded it, the time had come to venture outdoors and assess the damage. Since our house is located on the street corner, the shape of the driveway combined with the hedgerow on the right creates a kind of one-way funnel which collects and keeps any loose items which tend to fly around and near it. Now after the storm which had blown everything every which way, our driveway was filled with these mountains of leaves and sticks and twigs and mulch, millions if not tens of millions of leaves had collected into mounds, some of which were easily two feet in height. This was indeed a miracle of Nature, random sculptures molded by the shaping winds. Much like an expansive desert where the winds rush along the surface to produce the moving dunes and other shapes. Except that this was at my doorstep blocking the entrance and oozing its way indoors between my feet. And all of this for our amusement and awe. Well, these mounds were all fine and dandy to look at, and in a certain way I was also in awe. Unbelievable awe to say the least. What intricate mathematical laws of fluid dynamics had combined to create these natural wonders? Surely, my old friend Johann Bernoulli would have known how to figure it out if he were alive today. Just like that. Inside the house on the kitchen table Thea had left me a short note. On it she had hastily penned a friendly request to sweep up all the leaves and get rid of the mess. Let me repeat: mess. Was it a mess or was it a beautiful sculpture not to be touched, to be glorified, to be contemplated for its extreme magnificence? If Nature were truly random, then the millions of leaves would have formed a mess of constant height evenly distributed over the surface of the driveway. So this could be seen as a kind of proof that Nature was not random in its ways. If I were still familiar with his formulae of fluid mechanics, I would be able to create a neural simulation in my mind.

Bernoulli equation...

Nature is strong, but my wife is even stronger when it comes to convincing arguments. No I am not a hen-pecked husband. Just trying to come up with a lousy excuse is all, that was what I was doing, of course. I put on my winter coat, pulled out the containers, the broom and the dustpan, leaving my slippers on, sweeping from the one end of the driveway to the other and up to the garage door and back to the middle of the driveway again. The separate mounds had become two bigger mounds, and then there was one gigantic volcanic mound which had arisen in the middle of the driveway. Ready to burst forth with fumes and lava. Individual leaves would occasionally rise up, revolt and escape, but the extra work and attention required to keep them in place was not worth it. So I just let them go, go back to Nature where they rightfully belonged. At one point I was tempted to take a running leap into the volcanic pile like a little boy, but as a respectable neighbor adult I resisted. Did not want the volcano to explode prematurely now did I? Fortunately, leaves are highly compressible and I was able to smash down this mound into a little less than two containers. Rounded mounds of mulch reformed into rectangular volumes with a lid on top. The lids closed, the wheels creaked, and then the two containers were brought back to the side of the house. The sculptures had been destroyed and removed. Sorry about that, but my wife made me do it. But I knew that Nature would figure a way to get back at me before the end of the week. Leaves all over the place and more.


What is this all time obsession about raking up leaves? Leaves should be left exactly where they fall, they are one of the most important cycles in natures for mulching the earth, via our nice cousins, the earthworm. Leave it to them to do the work and, feed your garden at the same time and, point out to the wife the virtue of this natural process. They are especially good ground cover for when the snow comes, to save grass, bulbs and other plants alike.

Sorry, it's the biologist and environmentalist in me. ;-)

Yeah, but this is all collecting on my "driveway" which is in case you don't know solid cement blocks upon which nothing can grow. Except more piles of leaves, if I choose to do nothing as you suggest. Interesting idea though, Alexandra.

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This personal weblog was started way back on July 21, 2001 which means that it is 7-21-2001 old.

So far this blog contains no less than 2388 entries and as many as 1877 comments.

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Graduated from Stanford 6-5-1979 ago.

Kiffin Rockwell was shot down and killed 9-23-1916 ago.

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First met Thea in Balestrand, Norway 6-14-1980 ago.

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