Last night, the wind gusted from the southwest. The rattle of dry leaves from the sugar maples that line my street reminded me of the clattering progress of the old trolleys that used to have their terminus in Chestnut Hill. I knew this particular wind track would be the start of endless leaf clean-up, for while I have no sugar maples in my yard, I have the biggest piles of flame and gold leaves in the neighborhood.
My house stands at the curve in the road, and the pines planted forty years ago to provide a wind break have shouldered their way skyward. Encroaching limbs were hacked off long ago, leaving trunks shorn to allow riding mowers to grumble under the remaining branches. That gap creates a wind tunnel, scooping up the tatters of autumn and shooting them across my side yard, up the drive, and into three-foot deep piles along the back of the house.
And now it has begun to rain.