Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Leaf Them Alone!

I've found that one of the greatest examples of God's creativity is the leaf. Consider the leaf. Not only does it spend all summer feeding the tree, it also offers shade and puts oxygen back into the air. It filters pollutants. It slows the wind. As summer wanes it puts out a brilliant display of color before detaching and floating gracefully to earth. But does its usefulness end there? No!! Because that leaf is its tree's fertilizer! Left in place, it gives nutrients back to the soil, keeps down weeds, and provides food, warmth and shelter for the tree, plants and critters during the cold winter months. All of this in a leaf!

Every Autumn our suburban neighborhood is inundated with the noise and smell of leafblowers and huge piles form along the road, sometimes falling into the road. Every person around us has gardeners that they pay to get rid of all the leaves in their yards. And here I am, armed with my rake, moving leaves only from the open areas, transferring piles into compost bins, under shrubs and into a heavily treed area at the back of our yard. Every Spring little flags spring up out of the lawns in front of the neighbors homes: "Danger! Herbicides have been applied!" "Warning! Fertilizer application!" I shake my head. If only they would use what God has provided! And guess what happens to the leaves they get rid of? A truck comes and takes them to a town park where they are mulched and composted. By composting my own, I've just saved myself several car trips to get back my own leaves! For me, a neat and tidy yard isn't natural. I prefer my organic garden to a yard I'm afraid to have my kids walk barefoot through.

To learn more about trees and their contribution to our world, check this Arbor Day Foundation kid's site. Carly's Kids Corner in particular has a lot of games to teach kids about trees, the rainforest, and the creatures who need them.

And if I've provided one person with a good reason not to bag leaves this Fall, my work is done!

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