Blowing in the wind | Front Porch | Indy Week
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Blowing in the wind 

To every season, there is a power tool. Turn, turn, turn.

And this season's power tool is a six-horsepower, four-cycle, three-wheeled behemoth leaf blower, the Little Wonder. The repair guy said the engine's perfect for a go-cart.

You might say, "Isn't that a bit much for a family of four?" Or, "What about the environment?" It is kind of like cutting butter with a chain saw, whatever that '60's phrase was.

My Little Wonder, the Cadillac Escalade of the outdoors.

To be honest, we had it over a year before we ever cranked it up. It was a gift from my father and we were being sensitive then to the noise, pollution, over-kill issues. This thing could blow a small animal half way across the yard.

For years my wife and I stood our ground against civilization on our rural homefront. We boycotted answer machines, microwaves, cable TV, Miracle Grow and push-button heat. We baked our own bread, raked our own leaves.

Then we had kids and we just ran out of time.

Enticing a teen-aged daughter to enjoy the outdoors is one of the trickiest games of all time. It is way difficult to compete with the flat screen world.

"Dad, I've been outside all day!"

So last week all my, "Hey honey, want to go for a walk?" and "Why don't you hang up and go ride your bike?" and "Anyone want to make a picnic?" went ignored. Her virtual friends had the floor. Snood, Neo-Pets, the Sims, and Need for Speed were what she needed after a big day at school.

Until I said, "Sweetheart, the blower's back from the shop. Want to do the driveway?"

Magic words.

"Sure, I'll be right out."

You don't hear the gentle rustle of fragile red and orange leaves falling when the Little Wonder's doing its thing. Our Zen Buddhist neighbors probably think of moving ever further into the woods when we fire it up. The dogs and cats disappear, fearing for their lives as pinecones, tree branches, gravel, and dried leaves dance in the blower's wake. It's a Toto thing.

It was a beautiful Carolina twilight when we finally pushed the Little Wonder into her shed. It was quiet, the paths were clear, and the emails and IM's were piling up unanswered.

Final score: Little Wonder 1, 0.

Y'think Bob Dylan has himself a Little Wonder by now?

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