When All is Grass and Tarmac
Grass-cutting motors and engines roar angrily or hum around me, depending on their distance, in this once quiet village. The land of crop-growing, hedgerows, wildlife and animal-grazing is been gradually swallowed by humans with suburban obsessions and addictions for order and sameness.
The irony of all the hard work, noise and petrol that goes into taming something we planted to tread on, lie on, look on and find peace from when animals would do it for free, and of our not planting more useful things to grow in its place makes me think we like the responsibility of this obsession because it replaces an age old compulsion to tame, control and work on the land, and this is all that is left of our natural instincts.
What a shame that such a big part of our time spent outside is so noise and fuel-filled we no longer work in nature and with the sounds of nature but against it, over it, and often despite it and to its detriment.
We don’t realise what we are missing, what we are losing. We don’t think we are part of nature, we think we are above nature and build artificial barriers to prove we are apart from nature: superior. We think we can visit nature and step in and out of it like royalty. Soon we will have lost the option to go back. And we will lie on our artificial, weed-killer lawns on a warm day, smell the petrol and the hot tarmac, hear the roar and hum of engines, watch the vapour trails of aircraft exhausts poison the sky with white lines as seemingly innocent as clouds, and think we are with nature. But we won’t be. We will be lying on its grave.
A distant strimmer’s growl is batted off course momentarily on the wind and I hear the plaintive whistle of a begging fledgling. I hear the squeaky see-saw of a bird and try to remember if it’s either coal tit or a great tit.
I make my mind up to quietly and actively do no harm to nature for the rest of today; to sit in it. And look up bird songs.