Our friend was a tree that was carefully saved from the chain saw when our house was built twenty-eight years ago. Located just beside our driveway, it gave us shade and beauty for all those years. It sheltered birds and the occasional squirrel and it dropped leaves for our kids to play in. It was a perfect leaning post when I had to rest my back while gardening.
But the last half-dozen years, it gave us a few frights as well. In fall and winter storms it occasionally dropped a branch. I must give it credit for never hitting our vehicles that were parked right under it. It was an extremely considerate tree.
However, the last limb to come down almost took down our neighbour's power line.
They had a few other trees on their lot that they wanted to get rid of, so we discussed the future of our tree, too, and we all agreed that it was time for it to go. Best to do it before the windy season that will start in September.
I refused to watch as it was cut down. I hate to lose a good tree. Or even a bad one. But especially one that watched over us for so many years.
After the deed was done, and all the wood removed, the only thing left was sawdust. Our driveway is big enough to hold six vehicles comfortably, and the sawdust was spread surprisingly uniformly over the entire thing.
I stood in our garage and considered the tools available to me to move that sawdust off the drive. There was the shop vac, but it's noisy, and has a short cord, and that would require finding a heavy duty extension cord, which would have taken all the time available to me for sawdust removal. There was the water hose, but that seemed like a terrible waste of water. I could have used a leaf blower except we don't own such a thing. A hair dryer seemed like a bad idea also. Not that we keep a hair dryer in our garage, but I can think outside the box as well as the next person.
That left the broom. It's the former kitchen broom, now relegated to the garage and it looks like this:
|Screenshot from Canadian Tire website. Actual broom in our garage did not wish to have its photo taken. I can respect that.|
As I swept, I had a long time to think. Seventy-five minutes, if you should happen to be wondering.
For awhile, I mourned our tree. Then I began to sweat, and wish it were not quite so humid. Then I began to wish I had followed my heart about twenty-five years ago and bought the push broom I had been coveting, but never did because my longing was exceeded by my frugality. And I cheered myself up - as my carpal tunnel inflicted hand went numb from holding the broom - by reminding myself that since I cannot currently go walking for exercise, sweeping was a decent substitute and allowed me to shuffle around getting an upper-body workout while doing no serious damage to my lower half.
Then, after mining that silver lining to its limit, an image popped into my mind from a movie where the main character had to scrub a very large floor with only a toothbrush. And, lo, I felt his pain, and also felt sorry for myself.
In case you ever need to sweep sawdust off your asphalt driveway with a dinky broom, I have some tips for you.
- Think of raking leaves. It will take about as much time to clear the sawdust as it would to clear the same area of leaves with one of those horrible leaf rakes that impales leaves and won't let them go until you pick them off individually by hand. Yes, I rake very slowly. Bonus: you don't end up with twenty bags of leaves. I had only three shovelfuls of sawdust at the end.
- Think of shovelling snow. It will seem positively enjoyable by comparison because you don't have to keep bending over and lifting heavy loads of snow and throwing them awkwardly to one side on a bank that's towering over your head. At least that's my usual experience with shovelling snow because (a) we often get quite a lot of snow, and (b) I'm not very tall, and oh yeah (c) I'm not very strong either.
- A light touch is more effective. The harder I pushed down on that broom, trying to dislodge the sawdust from the pitted surface of the driveway, the less movement there was of said sawdust. But when I barely touched the broom to the asphalt with each arc, it caught the particles better and the breeze generated by the swish actually blew the really fine stuff in the direction I wanted it to go. Is this physics? Is this gravity? Is this putting you to sleep?
- Buy a push broom.
I finished sweeping just as the humid day turned into a rainy one. It was good timing, in more ways than one. If I had been able to linger outside, I'm afraid I would have shed some tears, in spite of being glad to have the monotonous cleanup done.
Thanks, my big old friendly tree, for giving us the best years of your life, and I hope you have one last hurrah as you warm someone's home this winter, just when they need you.
|Photo courtesy of Pixabay.|