a small complaint

i like autumn, especially in places where the seasonal changes are more visible. in new zealand, most of the trees are not deciduous and remain green all year, so there are less of the dramatic displays of colourful leaves giving way to skeletal branches. here in munich, we have leafy green privacy in spring and summer, then in winter everything is exposed. autumn (“herbst” auf deutsch) is a time of change and colour, the days are still warm and the weather is usually more settled. people return from holidays, school starts again, and there is a busy atmosphere of preparation for the coming winter months.

but there’s one thing that i don’t like: leaf blowers. this year it seems that our building maintenance has drastically increased it – the guy was here yesterday, only six days after he was here last week. the noise is the worst part of it, it’s like a small noisy motorbike revving for half an hour outside my window. it’s noise pollution as well as fossil fuel consumption and pollution. but what really makes me crazy is that it’s a completely pointless exercise: the day after the paths have been blown, they look exactly the same as they did the day before. leaf blowing doesn’t remove leaves, it just moves them around, and with the slightest puff of wind they simply blow back onto the path.

if it was a leaf vacuum cleaner, that would be different. if the leaves were quietly raked into a pile then bagged and removed, that would be fine – and wouldn’t take any longer than the leaf blower, who wanders around waving his machine almost randomly, talking on his phone or smoking a cigarette. if the leaves (which are small) were simply left to lie on the path (which is dry) that would be fine with me. but the leaf blower is definitely not fine!