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Written by John R. Greenwood  |  Photos provided

There's something about the sound of a metal rake when it hits the ground for the first time each spring. For me, it "is" the sound of spring. Those metal tines whisking up winter's leftovers are like a starter's pistol signaling, "GO!" 

Autumn raking is like putting the kids to bed. Leaf piles are a sign it's time to sit back, relax, and let winter drive for a while. Spring raking, on the other hand, is summer's kickstart. I've been itching to pull out the Ace Hardware "Special Buy" rake since Easter. It practically jumps from the shed wall into my hands. March winds have left my hands with chapped knuckles and blister ready.

I head out to the edge of the property where the lawn ends and Waller Road begins, spit a "Let's Do This!" into each palm and start the raking sound of spring. A robin watches from a bud-less maple hoping I'll unearth brunch for her and the kids. A frantic squirrel searches for a misplaced stash of acorns, his routine never changing from one season to the next. 

The morning sun warms the back of my neck; I breathe in a big whiff of leaf mulch, bring the rake back, take a healthy swipe like Tiger chipping at the 2019 Masters, and smile. 

Life is good. 

Rake on. 

Musty smell of melted snow now gone
Green metal rake poised against the white siding
Rests ready to pile winter's shed into
Mounded heaps of maple and stick
Awaiting strong arms and time

Saturday mornings run fast
In April's rush to bloom May flowers
Tall brown bags stuffed full
Parked obediently at road's edge

Spring birds refreshed seem sharper in song
Bee and bug visits - singular and erratic
Unsure what cloudy afternoons have in store

Dry leather gloves hide shyly
In back corner garage darkness

Tulip bulbs long neglected
Poke up defiantly in places years forgotten
Life's reminder
That flower tender, nor weakest child,
shall be discounted, nor counted out, nor given up

Each spring, each returning flower, each corner yard-surprise discovered
Pushes skyward
One year more.

Yard Work,
By John R. Greenwood