Sidewalk Sweeper: Just one more hat to wear for the bookshop owner

I’m Starting to Think, ‘Leaf Me Alone!’

At some point the city fathers and mothers okayed the planting of trees up and down the length of Main Street (in this case, a distance of about ten or twelve blocks).  They are regularly spaced, in diamond shaped holes in the sidewalk.  The trees march up the middle of the block on each side, but they are not on the corners.  This is good, because this means the view of traffic is not blocked by trees.  Instead, on each corner are a triad of planters attractively arranged and each spring they are planted with petunias, exotic grasses and various summer plants.  It looks lovely, and considering this is semi-desert  with a varied amount of annual rainfall and a steady and annoying wind, they do quite well.

sweeping in front of the book storeBut why, I ask myself.  Why locust trees?  I know they are hardy, but what were they thinking?  They have scores, hundreds, thousands, of those teeny little leaves, which have been turning yellow and falling down off the branches since before we opened our doors.  I also happen to know they have roots that are tough and hard to suppress and can’t be removed without power tools, or, possibly, dynamite.  The trees, I suspect, will be there until they grow too big for their little diamond plots, at which point I assume they will either strangle themselves to death or be removed with great difficulty.

Meanwhile, every morning I go outside with the push broom and de-leaf the sidewalk, shake out the mat, wipe down the window ledges and eliminate the insects, both dead and alive, from the vicinity of our door.  When I am feeling the need for exercise I also sweep to the north, in the entryway and in front of the empty building, on the theory that if the wind is from the north, everything there is just going to end up in front of our bookshop anyway.  Although, with a good wind, it will keep on going south and end up in Texas.

Anyway, there I am, outside, sweeping.  Every time a semi-truck goes by, they pass within nine  feet of the sidewalk.  It’s two lanes each direction, so four of them can be passing at once, which creates a noise level higher than I ever imagined.  I now know why the jewelry store owner who previously had this location had his work area and cashier’s desk at the other end of the shop!  I am also pretty glad I didn’t manage to talk Susan into moving the work area up to the front, since not only would the noise come in every time someone opened the door, but it would be pretty drafty and cold in the winter.  The way we have it now, customers have to go past most of the books to come pay, which in theory should increase the impulse sales.

At any rate, those trucks send gusts of dirt-laden air towards the sidewalk and windows, to the tune of about a quart of dirt and leaves a day.  The tiny spiders who attempt to make little webs on the ledge of the windows soon give up, as the webs turn black and useless almost at once.  The insects who have come to a bad end on the grills of the trucks begin to slide off as the trucks slow or stop for the train tracks, and the bodies come tumbling our direction, so there is usually some jumbled insect parts building up in the corners.

I noticed today that some of the trees across the street have curly, ten inch long poddy things which will probably also come down soon, adding color and texture to the dirt I sweep up. I bought a snow shovel the moment they went on sale, but the snow has held off for months.  Just as well, because there are still some leaves to sweep up.

3 thoughts on “Sidewalk Sweeper: Just one more hat to wear for the bookshop owner”

  1. I actually ended up with my picture in the paper once, since I was out sweeping leaves off the sidewalk!

    There’s a monstrously huge maple out front here:
    Note the lines running precariously through the middle of the tree…

    it sheds very enthusiastically. it’s the only tree on this side of the street for blocks. Unfortunately its reached the age where it also sheds tree sized limbs whenever the wind blows hard. The tree surgeon is supposed to come next week to take it down before it drops something that actually KILLS someone. (it did take out a large chunk of the neighbor’s roof already. the heart is rotten, so there’s no saving it)

    I do have a new tree to plant in the spring. I got a 6 foot flowering horse chestnut for $15 at the end of the nursery season. it’s on my screened in porch until the big tree comes down and the ground melts. (right now there’s about 6′ snowpiles all around the tree that needs to come down. we’ll see if the surgeon can even GET to it next week…)

    I will greatly miss the giant tree since its well over a hundred years old, possibly over 200. But the road wasn;s there when it was planted and its crept closer and closer each time they repave so it totally blocks sightline now. There was NO sightline to block when it was planted!

    the new one is getting planted 10′ back from current sidewalk edge so hopefully by the time it gets to similar size, it won’t be right on the edge of the road!
    (and it I trim the leader it should stay shorter than that maple. we used it as a landmark in our driving directions because there was no way to miss it!)

    • Hey Nora, That is some tree. You might want to check if there are some woodworkers in your area that might want to utilize some of it. I could just imagine the coloring and grain making some fine furniture or wood carvings. Perhaps even some shelving for your shop.

    • Wow, that is one SERIOUS tree! Those wires in with the branches should make taking it down a severe pain and no wonder the tree guy hasn’t quite got his enthusiasm going yet. And look at all that walk and cement for the leaves to fall on! Maybe I’ll stop complaining about my leaves now….

Comments are closed.