The following opinion article was written by Justin Proctor; loving husband, resident of Sanibel, and longtime advocate for bringing some measure of sanity back into the world.
The summer heat and humidity has broken, the island is filled with migratory birds working their way south, and us year-rounders still feel like we have this place all to ourselves. This might very well be the best time of the year on Sanibel. It’s just so addictingly quiet and peaceful.
But that tranquility cannot last; oh no, it surely cannot! There have been enemies slowly sneaking up on us, and though the war they bring is an annual event, somehow we find ourselves inescapably surrounded time and time again.
Yet we are not defenseless! I can promise you that.
As those first leaves fall into our yards, hundreds of us run out to beat the hell out of them with a machine that can only be described as a weapon forged from the depths of hell itself. Little could the leaf army have known that mankind would have the ingenuity to fasten a jet turbine to the barrel of a cannon, ultimately creating a death machine to everything—and everyone—around it.
The leaves are blasted from lawn to street, street to ditch, ditch to driveway, and from driveway to a neighbor’s lawn. Once there, their torture begins anew. We could simply drive over them with a mower and mulch their nutrient-rich bodies into our nutrient-starved landscapes (a battle fought and won in mere minutes, by the way), but a clean and simple death for those unyielding leaves would be an unforgivable act of mercy. Only through an arduous, senseless beating of those leaves can we as a community find both camaraderie and purpose.
But despite our technological prowess, this is a battle hard to win, dragging on day and night, month after month. As always, casualties on both sides will be high. Friends and neighbors will be forced to flee, deafened by the roar of artillery and choked by the ensuing dust storms. Nature preserves will be emptied as the wildlife scatters to look for refuge from the fallout. And yes, many leaves will die. They will anyhow, of course, even before they hit our lawns, but now they will die as we choose for them to die: either floating lifelessly down our canals, food for our beloved algal blooms, or wrapped up in layers and layers of plastic by the street’s edge, to be carted off to God only knows where and for God only knows what reason.
But it will all be worth it, because we will have won!. . . Won’t we?
EDITOR’S NOTE: Sanibel City Councilman Jason Maughan is on the council agenda to lead a discussion on a proposed ordinance regulating gas-powered leaf blowers at the council meeting Wednesday, Oct. 2, at City Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd.