I'm writing to thank all my Hyde Park neighbors who use a rake (instead of a leaf blower) to gather up leaves: those of us trying to enjoy being outdoors, or trying to work, are so grateful to you for sparing us that dentist-drill roar that ruins so many morning walks and interrupts Zoom meetings. The whining blast of a leaf-blower (especially the evil-smelling, polluting, gas-powered blowers) echoes all down a street and penetrates closed windows. They often just blow leaves onto the street, where the next breeze blows them back. They stir up great clouds of dust and allergens, putting those who use them at risk when they breath it.

It's a mystery to me why a property owner would mind having leaves on the grass next to the sidewalk: these shelter bugs and seeds that feed birds. But for those that are offended by autumn leaves — those colorful shapes, minnows and starfish — I beg you to use this wonderful invention called a rake: inexpensive, quiet, and efficient. If you use a rake, or ask someone who clears your sidewalks to use a rake, I'm deeply grateful.

Margaret LaBarbera

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