Blowing In The Wind… by JoAnn

A man is using an air blower to clear leaves.

Last week I went into town to get my annual flu shot. As I drove by the clinic, it looked rather crowded. So I decided to drive to the park across the street and wait a while. It would soon be 2:30 pm. School lets out at 3:00, and the clinic is usually quiet just before. I hoped to catch a lull and get my vaccine then.

As I sat in my car, enjoying the beautiful Fall day and all the lovely scenery the park held, I heard an intrusive noise. I looked around and realized a park worker was using a leaf blower. I don’t think I have ever heard a leaf blower that wasn’t obnoxiously loud, and this one was no exception. And as my luck would have it, he was heading in my direction.

The thing that struck me odd about this whole incident was the fact that the wind that day was high. Mother Nature was blowing leaves all over the place. They were whirling around in their golden splendor faster than your eyes could keep up with them. They were pressing up against the tall chain link fence around the park’s ball field. They made a crunching sound as they drug across the parking lot. It was impossible to tell if they fell from the trees or had long been blowing in the wind. That was the windy Fall day we were having.

I began to laugh about the park worker. I turned to watch him more closely. He tried so fervently to blow the leaves into some order. Of course, he failed to make even one pile. Just as they were somewhat brought together, POOF, they were whirling into the air again with the wind. Each time it was like Mother Nature blew another breath into his attempt at order.

I could see the disappointment and aggravation on the worker’s face as he kept blowing the leaves into the same pile over and over again. Trying different techniques, but nothing could hold them into place. I was tickled by his actions and couldn’t hold back the laughter. I felt guilty, but it was all so comical.

I sat there for over 20 minutes watching this poor man fight those leaves! As I drove back across the street to the clinic, his leaf blower was still attempting to break the sound barrier. My attention shifted to a needle being put into my arm, and I forgot about the park worker.

Later that evening, I remembered what I had witnessed in the park. I still felt guilty for laughing at the man. He was trying so hard to do a good job, and I giggled at his failure. I just couldn’t understand why he kept trying. Why did he think he could beat nature and its wind? I kept thinking of a term my mama used. She would say, “I don’t think he has good sense!”. Probably not politically correct today, but she used it when describing someone who maybe had mental challenges. She meant no harm, of course. Back in her day, little was understood about the challenges we know volumes about today.

I came to the conclusion that perhaps that worker in the park had mental challenges and had been hired to do a job he was capable of doing. Maybe he was doing this to earn a much-needed paycheck. I no longer felt like laughing at him but felt proud of him that he showed up for his job that day. Regardless of the weather, he showed up and did his job to the best of his abilities. He never gave up! Not even Mother Nature could keep him from trying. That was very impressive, to say the least. I hope he received his pay that day for his efforts. It saddens me when I remember the disappointment on his face. It obviously was important to him to do a good job.

Many of us could take a lesson from this hard-working man. I don’t know about you, but I would have never tried to pile up leaves on that windy day. I would have laughed if someone handed me a leaf blower and expected me to wrangle together even one pile. However, this guy had a job that day, and he was going to do it to the best of his ability, no matter what! I hope he went home with some money in his pocket and a sense of accomplishment—well done, Sir.