I know a few people still rake leaves, but leaf blowers seem to have become a better tool for rounding up and eliminating them these days. Aside from good exercise, I think we have lost some other things with the advent of these blowers. For one thing, the sound of raking is certainly far better than the almost ear splitting noise of the blowers. The whoosh sound of piling of leaves and moving them to the curb or further to the back of the yard is really quite pleasant. What fun we children used to have jumping into and rolling around in those leaf piles, too. There are those today that say that children should never be allowed to play in the leaves because leaves all sorts of horrors from bacterias to moulds that "could" harm your child, especially if they have asthma. They "could" also be the home of nasty parasites like ticks, or they "could" be hiding other dangers like stones, sharp sticks, mice, frogs, or other biting insects. Really!!?? I'm not saying that any of this is not possible, but I know from personal experience that most of these concerns are minimal or even almost non-existent, like mice and frogs. There were a couple of kids in my school that did have asthma when I was growing up. But they were certainly in the minority. These days when children seldom get to play in leaves, the number of cases of children suffering from this condition has skyrocketed, and many experts are beginning to think that one of the main reasons may be due to not letting them play in the dirt or leaves. Another possible reason may be that they are not getting enough vitamin D from just being outside and playing in the sun. What have our children, grandchildren, and us lost now that we seldom create piles of raked leaves? Could it be something as simple as pure joy? Picking up and throwing leaves, jumping and running through a pile of them, hearing them crunch under my feet, these are all happy memories that I carry with me from my childhood. There was joy, too, in being out in the yard with my parents when they were raking, or my children when I was. And finally, at the end of the day, there was the joy and satisfaction of having made the yard look neat again, at least for a little while. There are many reasons to be thankful for inventions that make our lives easier, but sometimes, I think, easier does not make better.