The Rakes Progress

The Rakes Progress

The kitchen window opens, “You’ve been staring at those leaves for twenty minutes”

The sycamore and I have been acquainted for almost twenty years and annually it sets me the same loathsome task.

“Leaves were never meant to be picked up” I said. “Anyway more will fall tomorrow. What’s the point?”

I know I’m on a loser and head to the shed to fetch the rake. On my return, I stop once more at the pile of soggy cornflakes, surrounded not by milk but by shale black tarmac with flecks of rose coloured stones glistening  in the rainwater.

Leaning on the rake, I realise that each of these victims of senescence is an individual. A progression of different stages of decomposition.  A coloured collage of the dead and dying, some still with traces of chlorophyll, though sooty spots betray the progress of microscopic fungi in ever increasing circles.

The dying leaves flail etiolated stalks tinged with flecks of cochineal and coral. Jaundiced yellow leads to sorrel. Near their end, the veins of the Havana brown leaves lack the strength to contain their structure.

The tree has shed its workforce” Sorry but we have to let you go. Oh and please leave the organisation’s potassium and nitrogen behind”. These redundant, once skilled, food producers are not alone.  The odd invader has infiltrated the sycamore’s ex workforce. Exposed by their shape, privet, daisy ,and even the wind damaged  pale bamboo foliage, join the doomed ranks..

I shout through the kitchen window “Any chance of a cup of coffee Pauline… this is hard work.”

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