Friday, September 28, 2012

The Autumn Purging: A Seasonal Ailment

Many people fall victim to that horrible ailment known as spring cleaning.  

They race from area to area, brandishing spray bottles while carrying washcloth shields.  They kick up dust, only making this illness progress to a far greater level as they sneeze and cough, their lungs in distress under so much pressure.

Just before their recovery from this horrid condition, their skin cracks or itches and they fall into exhaustion.  Even more strange, they do so with a satisfied smile on their lips, as though brain cells have been depleted in the process.

I'm happy to say that I've never been one to succumb to this.  Thus far in life, I've avoided it in its entirety.

Unfortunately, I appear to have fallen victim, as of late, to what appears to be a mutation of this ailment:

The Autumn Purging

This is a strange condition that appears to be a mutation of what's commonly known as spring cleaning.  From what I've been able to piece together, it doesn't pass from person to person.  Instead, it's carried by the cool autumn wind.  Many appear to have an immunity to it, such as my immunity to its springtime counterpart, but those that are unlucky enough to catch this ailment are in for quite a ride.

The symptoms?

A compulsion to purge the area of every last leaf, the overpowering need for a sparkling clean rain gutter, sudden visual intensity that forces the victim to see each and every brown spot in the yard, irrational sadness as the victim realizes that they're powerless to do anything about the brown spots, bursts of energy that occur sporadically as a leaf falls, tunnel vision, and finally, exhaustion.

It starts abruptly, and with little to no warning.  The trigger is a single area that is in need of the purging.

dried brown leaves covering the edges of the sidewalk.
My trigger was the front sidewalk.
All was fine until I walked my daughter to preschool one morning.  A sudden breeze rushed past me, and the dreaded ailment took hold.

A few leaves leapt into the air, and my eyes followed them back down to the ground.

No, down to the top of an entire pile of leaves.  A pile that reached around seven inches high at its peak.  A big, no... a huge pile of brown, dry, crunchy leaves that were sure to end up tracked inside the house as they clung to the bottoms of people's shoes.


And over.


The Autumn Purging: A seasonal Ailment

The specific leaves that I had originally noticed never made it to the ground.

I had contracted that horrible ailment. The Autumn Purging had me in its grasp.  There was no going back.

I moved porch furniture.  I raked. I swept.  I cleaned.  I repaired a few cracks in the house's siding.  After 3 straight hours of this, combined with crushing leaves roughly into a black bag to fit

more, more, MORE 

inside, then re-sweeping and re-raking after my daughter 'helped' me, I was exhausted.

Autumn Purging, nearly complete

I fell into a chair and smiled, thinking I had finally done enough to take a rest... after, of course, I filled that second bag and threw out a few small items of trash I had found.  I was exhausted, but the chair was oh so comfortable.

But then...

A leaf fell from the black walnut tree that overhangs the back porch.

I stood up and grabbed the broom.

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