Like many this time of year, I surrendered the “heavy lifting” of fall cleanup to a service provider. I did so grudgingly because it is one of the few purely physical kinds of work I can do with any degree of competence.
When I returned to find trees and bushes groomed and beds blown clean, I noticed that my wildlife friends were similarly inspecting the change. Due to my less extensive pruning the prior year they were accustomed to some welcome wind breaks and sheltering spaces.
Now they seemed a bit anxious and disapproving as they jumped and flittered about. Something good was lost and not much of anything gained.
My approach last year was minimalist, less intrusive. What I had hired done to satisfy my eye rudely impacted squirrel, bird, and rabbit – even our outdoor cat lost his favorite stalking stations.
My caring wife had lobbied for this service sensitively after witnessing my fatigue following last fall. She suggested that it may not be the best use of my time. A day later I began to appreciate this outsourcing move. More time to read, write, and watch my birds on the weekend.
Alas, there must be a happier middle ground, something not so neat and tidy that it disrupts my natural neighbors, yet good enough to not offend my human neighbors. Meanwhile, I have three seasons to ponder the question and time to spoil my birds in the season they need me most.