April 14, 2021

Observing That Spring Brings “Mating Call” of Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers to Town

To the Editor:

Ah spring in Princeton! The sight of flowers, bushes, and now our magnolia tree. The scent of the blooming flowers of the earth itself in spring. And the sound of the birds in the Harrison Street Park chirping their mating calls. Were I to walk along the D&R Canal past the Institute Woods, the cacophony would overwhelm. And as I returned home along Pelham Street on the other side of South Harrison where I live, I heard, for the first time this year, the mating call of a gas-fired leaf blower, a species that has evolved from the inefficiency of the soundless hand-held rake. No wonder they, the rakes, became extinct except in garages where they are kept as specimens of a past age.

And then, just before entering my door, I heard a soft higher pitch voice of a female gas-fired leaf blower responding from Aiken Street across the park. Thinking ahead, the 17-year cicadas are about to appear. Imagine their heart throbs on hearing the calls of gas-fired leaf blowers! Will they swarm and then mate? What will the offspring look like when they appear in another 17 years? Long life wished for us all to welcome them!

Robert Karp
South Harrison Street