The way of the mower

Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.” :  Zenrin Kushû

One of the oldest habits we have is to walk up and down a patch of land. Usually we had an animal with us; a horse, an ox, a buffalo. Sowing, ploughing, reaping. Up and down. Every time we take out the mower, we continue this. We no longer need the animal, more’s the pity. But it was not so long ago:6608904255_4c09bc0a53_z

When you mow, cutting the grass in a rhythm you have learned from doing the same thing dozens on dozens of times over the years, with every  hummock and curve a known friend, the mind blanks. It ceases to be a task. It ceases to be anything. Each time you pass, say, a familiar ragusa rose, you see its shape at a fractionally different angle. A kaleidoscope of colour and shape. The memory assimilates better than the camera.P1010815

In the unmown grass, small flowers bloom. One pass, and they are compost.

‘People of the world look at these flowers as if they were in a dream.’P1010801


36 thoughts on “The way of the mower

  1. We too have lots of the blue flowers in our lawn, very pretty they are too! When our garden was still part of the farmer’s field next door, the farmer wouldn’t risk this corner with his new tractor, he brought the shire horse out of retirement!

    • My lawn (ha! ha!) is full of creeping buttercup (very pretty!) — well at least the celandine has gone into hiding.

        • Probably due to all the rain we had last year. Probably helped the spread of the celandine too! (Am I starting to bore you about the celandine? It may have disappeared — but I know its still there). Not too keen on the little blue flowers either! I think I’ll check out the price of paving slabs!!!

  2. Dear Mystic,
    I loved this post.
    The gardens and fields–and even old houses–are haunted so well by all those people who lived and worked there before. Good job capturing it.

    ps: if you got a dog you too would have an animal to walk with you

      • I know a man who grew up in Texas. He says that as a child he had a pet bull. He would put a rope on this bull and take him for walks around town. So yes maybe oxen.

          • You uncover the most remarkable corners of the Internet… I would expect an Orange County in Florida and Texas and famously in California. Everyone in southern California seems to have an orange tree in the garden. There’s no Orange County in Oregon although my tangerine tree is doing okay.

            • You have tangerines as well as peaches and hummingbirds? Really, you are blessed. I’m sure there was an Orange county in Chicago when I was there – or maybe it was a district or a police department?

    • I feel my grandparents often in my garden, riding with me for a bit when I pass terrain they walked themselves. Sometimes it seems like they’re not truly gone.

  3. What with the moss and the clay, most of the year an ox would sink to its kneecaps on my grass. I love the fact you can turn even grass cutting into a gardening odyssey.

  4. Hi Kininvie,
    The little flowers in the grass only happen here for a few short weeks in the spring. They are the more special for it, just as yours are before the blade passes. Pretty flowers, pretty words.

  5. That black and white photo is smashing. It’s the bees on the lawn flowers that I have to watch out for. I’ll be in full mowing swing but then periodically have to make an emergency stop. Dave

    • You must have remarkably nonchalant bees, Dave. Or a very silent mower. Maybe you could employ one of your under-gardeners to walk in front of you with a red flag to warn the insects?

      • Remarkably nonchalant, Mr K. Very often I have to nudge them with the front of the mower. Ssdly I don’t have enough under-gardeners for what you suggest. They are busy enough walking behind me holding my parasol and trays of iced lemonade and assorted sweet-meats. D

  6. Kininvie, I hivnae any time for a that flooers in the grass. I asked Myra if I looked like my mind was blank when I am mowing, she said you look more like yer in a dwam.

    • I imagine you on your hands and knees, eradicating every last daisy from your immaculate turf….Going into a dwam is the first step in achieving enlightenment of course, and if Myra is sceptical I suggest you acquire a copy of ‘A Little book of Aberdeenshire Mystics, together with Observations by The Author’ (long out of print, I fear, but you might find it on e-bay)

      • Weed and feed does it all for you these days , mind you all this sunshine has caused other serious problems, like actual brown patches on the lawn!

        I must look for this book on ebay.

        • I feel your pain, Alistair. If you fail to find the book on Aberdeenshire mystics, you could try looking for ‘Sayings of the Zen masters of Buckie’ or even ‘Prayer wheels on Benrinnes’ – though that one is very rare.

  7. I love the mowed path amongst a meadow it is what I aim to do with my reluctant green before the woodland garden but it’s too hot and dry here to have a meadow that size in bloom…
    PS: are you sure that’s a rugosa rose?

    • Damn – I should have known to check carefully before flaunting a rose name anywhere you were likely to appear! You’re right, of course. It’s actually r. pimpinellifolia ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’. Very attractive and more or less maintenance-free. Reminds me, I must to a short post on my r.pimps…just for you.

      • Ha! I would have put all my money on a Scotch rose! And yes you shall pay more attention next time, you know there’s people around here ready to dissect every word you say…

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