According to the National Rake Foundation - and they ought to know - the last autumn leaf to fall off a tree comes down off the Bradford Pear tree in the front yard of the splendid home I share with the wonderful Mrs C. Every other tree in North America seems to wrap up its Fall Color Show by the time I get to put the rakes and blower back in the shed/
Hey, the county even stopped collecting leaf bags two or three weeks ago. All through October and November we ride around the suburbs, marvelling at the lovely colors as the other trees in town see their leaves change color. The oaks turn red, brown and russet. Hickories go all golden bronze; dogwoods become purplish-red. There are birches, all bright yellow, and maples that run the color gamut from orangey red to scarlet.
The rest of the trees on our little slice o'heaven are ash trees, whose leaves have the kindness to turn a kind of paper-bag color and drop off while the lawn is still being cut, so there's not much to rake.
Oh, but this Bradford Pear ("Bradford" being a word meaning "little inedible pellets that stain the driveway and sidewalks") is stubborn. While every other tree turns colors and their owners rake up the detritus and then put the rakes away for another year, we are stuck waiting for the change to occur.
And we wait. And wait.
As happened this week, it usually works out that a windy rainstorm finishes denuding the tree, and then after things dry out a bit, I get out there with the annoying leaf blower and round up the crunchy foliage, hiding it in bags otherwise full of household debris.
But all the while as I bag 'em up, I talk to the tree and ask it if it would mind sharing the yard with a nice apple tree.
Sure, it's rude of me, but this time next year, I could be baking a free pie!