Picture1I’ve been gone from this blog space for a little while. I took a voluntary leave of absence and involuntary leave of my senses. In short, I went crazy.

I’m guessing you can relate.

In these times, you either say something crazy or do something crazy. And if you’re not saying or doing one or the other, that’s definitive proof that you are – in fact – crazy.

In many ways, though, this lockdown/shelter-in-place thing has fit my personal lifestyle quite well. Isolation. Desolation. Anti-social distancing. Comfortably numb. Lots of idle time, self-soothing motions, repetitive tasks.

One task I have taken to fiercely in recent weeks is raking. As in leaves. Lots and lots of leaves. A whole forest, in fact.

I have channeled my inner Finn.

Not Huckleberry, mind you. But the kind from Finland.

Remember that? When President Trump said the reason for the California wildfires last years was because of mismanagement. Specifically, because they weren’t raking their leaves in California. Like they do in Finland. Whoever “they” are.

And that’s why Finland doesn’t have forest fires.

Pretty simple, really. If not a little – shall we say – inaccurate. One reason I know this is because I can attest that it takes a long time to rake leaves.

My partner, she lives in a three-acre forest of bamboo, magnolia, black oak, white oak and black willow trees. It’s a hefty chore just keeping the front yard groomed. Safe to say it’s been a long time since anyone took to clearing the overgrowth in the back.

Like, maybe the Saints still played at Tulane Stadium?

So I raked roughly 100,000 square feet of land, most of it ankle deep in leaves and branches, opening a trail from her house to where her lot backs up to the Tammany Trace, the paved, 31 mile bike/walking trail that runs from Covington to Slidell.

The Trace is officially closed right now, so it’s about as quiet out there as the forest. Anti-social distancing really does make for idyllic times.

And I guess here’s the ironic part: All those leaves I raked – and it was a helluva lot of leaves – or did I say that already? I burned them.

Get it? The leaves I raked, I set them on fire! For days and days and days. And it was, well – pretty wild.

S’mores, anyone?