A low steady buzz
drifts to me long before
the smell of cut grass
This haiku (5-7-5), was inspired by a recent experience. Pottering around under the Sun and a light breeze make for wonderful gardening. At some point I left my troubled thoughts and started to pay attention to the sounds around me, and then picked up the soft steady noise of a lawn mower.
They are out there almost every weekend during Spring and Summer; an army of mechanical lawn cutters, trimmers, chain saws. All out doing battle with grass and weeds, whatever doesn’t belong or look ‘neat’ is a prime target. Many hours moving machines over a carpet of green.
My first memories of that sound (I trust you have hit the play button on the audio player already…), involved my father and a rusty Victor 2 stroke at small block at Lower Templestowe, at that time a rustic outpost of suburban Melbourne circa 1975.
He would be out there with the motor going every Summer weekend, and what lasts in the mind are amount of stones and sticks that it would fling in all directions, seemingly in the direction I happened to be playing in. It seemed to be worse when wearing shorts!
The lawnmower is the weekend, it is labor, it is the homeowner making good on a social norm – grow grass and keep it short!
Besides a car, is a lawnmower the most common mobile mechanical device a man would have? And of course it belongs in a shed, where other assorted ‘man things’ are kept, not forgetting a Jerry can of petrol hiding someplace, hoses, drills and bits of wire.
I stepped into my shed yesterday, to retrieve some pruning shears, and realised that everything in there belonged to me. How did it all get it there? But no, on closer inspection it was easy to identify almost every item and how it found itself there, and about as well organised as city planning in Manila.
And yes there was a lawn mower in there (I have my own Victor now), a half empty Jerry can and the smell of fuel. Stains on the workbench from a spilled tin of paint varnish, and the sound of a miner bird scratching on the plastic sky light, its shadow dancing across the concrete floor.
What would the mowing experience be like without the smell of fresh cut grass. It is rich and sweet, and carries heavy in the air long after the work has been done. A fitting reward for effort, and possibly the only good thing to come from having lawn. Well unless mowing the lawn is the only form of gardening that you do, and that is cool also.