How Green Was My City

Where I live there is a large expanse of lawn, which is nice and all, I just wish my landlord didn’t feel the need to mow it every week.

He seems to have a knack for knowing I have just lain down to have a nap, and he’ll turn up with his trailer full of noise-making machines.

First comes the roller-mower, with its deep grumbling that makes my bedroom window shake. Then comes the whipper-snipper, with its angry hiss and spitting, sending sand and shards of bark against the pane. The worst is the edger, with its grating, grinding, gravel voice as the blade chips pieces out of concrete paths. And finally, the blower, with its breathy growl, that blasts sand and grass-blades across my porch. And each of them is powered by a smelly petrol engine, breathing smoke.

The more he cuts the grass, the more he needs to water, and the more he waters it, the longer, quicker grows the grass. The sprinklers blast their spray beyond the lawn’s edge, onto paths and roads, to be evaporated by the thirsty sun, or to run off along the gutters into drains.

In this, the driest inhabited continent on Earth, it is a crazy way to live, a wanton waste of water, yet so many in my city do it, flaunting their promiscuous misuse of our most precious resource. To fly over Perth and to look down at the home of two million people, perched between the dusty desert and the salty sea, the eye takes in a patchwork of verdant parks and lawns and gardens, and an abundant sprinkling of swimming pools. A profligate oasis.

We flout nature’s rules, so flagrantly denying our responsibility to our Mother Earth, even as we suckle and suck dry her aquifers, unsustainably, draining her.

 I can’t help but think that were it not for lawns and swimming pools, there would be no need at all for the desalination plant that blots a golden beach and sends its super-salted discharge back into the bay, to choke the fish and sea-grass.

Native shrubs and groundcovers, long-adapted to the dry by a billion generations of evolution, would need no watering, and would sustain the native birds and reptiles, marsupials and insects, far better than the nutrient deserts of lawn that we impose upon the land.

And, best of all perhaps, native gardens don’t need lawnmowers.

amberdextrous amberdextrous
51-55, M
14 Responses Feb 14, 2010

this is an old story so maybe they didnt have push mowers back then but thats what i use and it works way good.

I love your narrative voice.<br />
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I know you're writing about something you dislike, but your word usage and the way each word just seems to flow, I MUST commend you. In my place, people very rarely have lawns, so I think I'm glad I do not have to put up with that.<br />
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I DO agree that most of us are in denial of our roles... and I honestly don't know HOW each of us can embrace the fact that we need to care more for our resources.<br />
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Thanks for sharing this =)

Polly, I would gladly swap you some of our sunshine for some of your rain!<br />
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You're right, Lilt... but we humans are inherently a lazy lot. And if we all had our own blowers and all blew our own leaves, what a noisy, leaf-strewn world we would live in!

The epitome of laziness...paying someone else to blow your leaves.

Thank You for dropping by, unobserver. It is great to hear that you still rake, and that it helps you get in touch with the earth's cycles. It's a pity there is nowhere you can turn your leaves into compost, so their nutrients return to the soil/<br />
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I love the sound of that mossy carpet on your friend's mountaintop! <br />
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I have a robotic vacuum cleaner too, Polly -me! I have to be in a robotic state in order to do the vacuuming.<br />
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And you are right about my landlord. He is both boring and annoying. Even worse, his son lives next door...

I still rake. I have my own form of OCD. It's how I get in touch with the seasons. I push dead leaves around. I live in the city, so we have to bag them up and send them away, but when I was a kid, we used to burn them. (After, of course, a few hours of jumping into the piles.)<br />
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I understand your desire to go with the natural flow of where you live, and it's sad that nobody does. I used to have a friend who lived on a mountain, and the ENTIRE front "lawn" was this beautiful, deep green moss. It was softer to the bare feet than any grass I'd ever stood on, required no watering and NO mowing. And it just felt right. That's how the land was when they got there, so they just left it that way.

Heehee!<br />
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Soon we will have *indoor* blowers! We'll just open the door and blast the dust outside!<br />
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These machines are supposed to save us time as well, so that we can keep up with all the other million things that are going on in our fast-paced world. But when my landlord is not using his mower and his edger and his blower, he is fixing them!

You are so right, Polly. When my Dad made me mow the lawn, I used a rake. And instead of a motor-powered edger, I had to use a spade to keep the edges neatly trimmed. <br />
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We humans are so lazy we have to make a machine for every purpose -and those machines end up pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere. It seems our technological 'solutions' only cause more problems for every other species.

Thanks for yur comments everyone.<br />
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Hey, you're right, Polly! I can't remember the last time I saw a rake! <br />
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Hurldog, I sympathise! I'm pretty sure my landlord is certifiably OCD too. He seems to find some reason to be here sven days a week.

Hurldude, you hit the nail on the head...it is a highly OCD behavior.

Noise pollution, as well!

Mother Nature gave me leaves for a reason. They are good to my garden.<br />
And I have the elegant stinkhorns to prove it!

I am amazed that people put up with them, Lilt. All they do is blow the rubbish from my place into yours, or out onto the road. How did they suddenly become de rigeur?

You are preaching to the choir, my friend.<br />
Don't get me started on leaf blowers...grrrrrrrr