Time to Cover the Sun

by Regis Boff

I am a burner. In these times of ever encroaching global climate catastrophes, we need to return to the age of autumn leaf burning. As a boy, in the area where I grew up that was often referred to as the third hemisphere, (around Pittsburgh), I would watch transfixed as mammoth piles of gathered leaves flamed out of control in our neighborhood.

Grown men, whimpered involuntarily as they would frantically try to beat back the perimeter of their crazily windblown bonfires with wooden rakes in pitiable attempts to slow the brushfires they had deliberately set. In my experience nothing draws a community together like one neighbor burning down the house of another.

Saturdays, in our little community in the fifties, many times turned into picnics with fire engines and apologies.
I live now a million years into the future, in the self-proclaimed epicenter of tree sanctuaries, at least on the Eastern seaboard. On any given day you might run across an Ent mumbling about “never having heard of a Hobbit” as he rumbles through my neighborhood. The old autumnal dance of leaf cleansing is still a pastime but burning them is forbidden now. We are expected to buy special bags to put our leaves in, to be later carried away by our expensive public municipal workers to some unverified town leaf gulag.

I find the rules governing the gathering of my leaves daunting and just a little fear provoking, and I suspect (knowing my neighbors reasonably well) that I am not alone. I am beginning to get the feeling that my government is turning me into a kind of ecofriendly janitor.

Trying to rid my property of leaves is a little like tropical fish in an aquarium trying to spit water out of their tank. I understand that there are enormous industries and political positions built around this leaf thing now and more is required of us all, but I feel the unpleasant winds of despotic collective conscience heading in my direction and I don’t play well with people who know what is best for me.

I was raised a simple man who gravitates towards modest solutions, and fire is one of the most elemental. This is a civil quarrel that I am ready for. If global warming is a fact, then what better tactic to employ than a massive ring of leaf soot surrounding our planet, blocking out the sun, forcing our temperatures to nosedive? This is nifty and well rounded, as solutions go. Got a match?