The fall leaves in central Illinois have been gorgeous this year. Because of a particularly windy week, they fell quickly. For those who live in the country, most the leaves blow away with minimal effort. For those who live in town, they stay put or blow into piles along fences and buildings.
We recently had a unusually warm weekend. The entire weekend was gorgeous—perfect weather for wrapping up some fall projects, including cleaning yards. (I often marvel at the irony of our lawn care efforts. We plant trees to enjoy shade and color. The benefits come with consequences, more work. We rake up all that beauty as it’s not quite as beautiful any longer. It’s similar to the efforts we take in growing and maintaining grass. It’s a reminder of our willingness to put in effort in order to maintain some things important to us for a variety of reasons.)
I considered taking care of leaves on Saturday of the gorgeous weekend, but there was a nice breeze, and I thought another 24 hours might loosen more leaves. So, after church the next day, I went outside to start the work. I was immediately greeted by a neighbor doing the same. We talked across the fence for a while. When I moved to the front yard, another neighbor rode his mower over to chat. A couple other neighbors waved as they raked and mulched.
When I left home to walk in the park a little later, I realized nearly everyone on my block was cleaning up leaves in my neighborhood. It was a community deleafing project. I am sure more will fall, but the majority are gone, and the little amount that are left won’t easily pile up anywhere.
We each worked in our own yard, but together, we made a lot of community progress.
That’s how it works. It’s less about the pressures we put on each other and more about the efforts of cooperation. And that is an ongoing opportunity. There may not be leaves to be raked or grass to be mowed, but there are always needs of the community that require some effort from all of us. Be intentional about the efforts you’re making today.