Sunday, January 29, 2023

What 'fall' means to me

by Jerry Hitchcock
| December 3, 2010 8:00 PM

It was a nice fall season here locally wasn't it? The low temps finally killed off all the colorful foliage a few weeks ago, but we were fortunate to have very New England-like fall scenery for a few weeks.

And all during those weeks, the leaves were "falling," and I was raking. My shrubs and non-pine trees dropped their palette of petals regularly, and I, in turn, was manning the rake and disposing of them regularly.

Not that I mind so much. Let's just say I wasn't spending too much time on the couch watching college football or basketball (read: None) those days.

It's the time of year when Mother Nature and Jack Frost like to play havoc with your property. One day the yard looks great, resplendent with color on everything wooden, the next day a good portion of the color adorns the ground beneath. And now a blanket of snow covers everything.

It's exhausting most of the time and, unfortunately in this instance, I live in Post Falls, which unlike Coeur d'Alene has no leaf pickup program. I can't just rake everything in one direction (toward the street) and leave it there. I have to rake the millions of dead carcasses into a pile, somehow shift them upward and into a green garbage bin, which stays plenty full this time of year.

It all depends on how you look at "fall." Some might view the shorter days void of sunshine for the most part in a depressing light. Others enjoy the foliage and the brisk weather and welcome the change from a warm summer. Still others might be ecstatic, since "fall" means they are closer to another ski/snowboard season.

Me, I just try to take it as it comes. I try to keep the yard looking nice (probably the farmer in me) and there's always some pride involved when you finish up for the day and the place looks a little (or a lot) better than it did in the A.M.

Much to my chagrin pretty much every year, as soon as I get the majority of my regular leaves rounded up, a wind storm will pass through and knock every dead pine needle in a seemingly quarter mile proximity into my yard. Raking pine needles is kind of like nailing Jell-O to a wall. Frustration is bound to rear its uglier-than-my-normal head. Not only do you have to rake every area at least twice (the second time in a perpendicular direction to make any dent in the lawn invaders) but the needles invariably will poke various areas of your body as you gather them up.

I've often said if we could find a great use (meaning profitable) for these needles, none of us in North Idaho would have to work for a living. Let's get on it, people!

So to me, "fall" is not so much a season as it is a feeling. I have plenty to do, away from my job at The Press, that I more often than not literally "fall' into bed after another long day of yardwork, wrapped head to toe to ward off the brisk elements.

Aside from the yard duties, there's always the ceremonial removal of all the summer decorations and outdoor furniture and the tarping thereof. The garden always needs some attention, to clear all the remnants of a fruitful harvest.

Don't get me wrong. I live here for a reason. I grew up along the same latitude a few hours east of here, and the change of seasons is more home to me than any house. But now that snow blankets North Idaho I have hopefully worked my back into shape for snow shoveling by chucking everything that gravity has beaten down into a bin.

So at this point, the question is whether the television menu overrides my desire for a nice clean driveway.

See you in the spring.

Jerry Hitchcock is a copy editor for The Press. He can be reached at 664-8176 ext. 2017 or via e-mail at

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