Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Blowin’ in the wind

Yesterday afternoon I heard a staccato shredding sound outside my office here in Burbank, opened the door to look out, and saw that we had a sudden hailstorm. Actually, it looked like hail, rain, and snow. And that’s what it was. (Here’s a report about it.) From nowhere, on what had been just previously a crisp clear Los Angeles day. Five minutes later it was gone and the day became crisp and clear again. Deciding that this was a warning from God to free the Israelites, I went back into my office and awaited the plague of locusts and the rain of frogs.

All night long last night the wind howled outside my bedroom window at home and I wondered what the state of our trees, both long-standing and recently planted, would be. This morning revealed various small branches and bits of shrubbery blown into odd piles, but no major damage. There will be figs this summer.

But here was my truly favorite part of this unseasonable — and ungeographical — weather, and please note that in the classically American sarcastic style when I say “favorite,” I mean the opposite. Today when driving my youngest child to his preschool we came across a gardener clearing a residential corner. What was he using to clear the sidewalk? A leaf blower. And as quickly as he was blowing the leaves and other small debris into the street, using the large fume-spewing gasoline motor strapped onto himself, the wind was blowing it all back. When I see things like this I actually relish a real energy crisis that would force everyone to reconsider his true energy needs.

When I was a kid, we had state-of-the-art machinery that handled this sort of job quickly, efficiently, and with little to no use of fossil-fuel energy. We called these tools:

  • a rake
  • a bag

I was at Lowe’s just this past Sunday, and these implements are still available. I wish more people used them.

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