Leaves of wrath

I spent the better part of yesterday outside raking/scraping/digging fallen leaves encrusted in snow and ice from my lawn to the curbside for pickup.

I do not appreciate this mixing of the winter into the autumn. Snow is not supposed to fall until all the autumn clean-up is done. Did someone not get the memo? Hmmm? It’s like throwing a party before you clean the house, before you shop for food and drinks.

But leaf raking/scraping/digging proved to be the grueling physical chore I needed yesterday to clear my head, which was buzzing with scary information and worry.

I’m worried and scared about the fallout of the auto companies in distress. If they don’t get the help they need — which I think should only come with very specific conditions that would both bolster the economy and move auto companies away from their outdated ways of operating and producing.

If the Big Three don’t get any help and fall, the ripple effect here and elsewhere is going to be profound. Knowing that something big and bad is about to happen is scary enough. It’s when you don’t know what that bad thing is that makes it all the worse.

As the daughter of a skilled tradesman, I grew up knowing of economic ups and downs. There were times we went on vacation and had a new car in the driveway. There were times we were living on hot dogs and dad had to leave the state to work. But I can’t recall a time in my life when it seemed the entire foundation of everything was teetering on collapse.

Toss in more bad news: I learned from a former co-worker that our employer is poised to belly-up at year’s end. I guess the ax fell really hard and most everyone is out of a job. Add these folks to the growing line of unemployed populated by people at all education and experience levels.

Oh, hey, did I mention I’m supposed to be looking for a job?

I can’t help but think about the fictional Joad family packing up their stake truck and heading down the dirt road toward the green valleys of opportunity that were “just around the next bend” or maybe  “over the next hill.”  Will be soon we watching a procession of Joads heading West out of Michigan?

We’re tiptoeing on thin ice here, dreading that a sudden move will open a fissure and suck us all under.

Somehow, getting grouchy about an early winter, about having to rake/scrape/chop snow-encrusted leaves seems manageable, solvable, trivial.