They came this morning in a big, open lorry – tools and barrows in the back – to clear next door’s wilderness. Their task was to create a new turfed garden in two days. To cut back all the intertwined growth that had sprung up since the space was last lived in and tended.
They put on protective gloves, goggles and ear muffs, pulled the cord and the machines were off, cutting and strimming. The machines dictated the rhythm. It was all speed, strain and smoke. The chainsaw sounded angry, aggressive. Noise is power, at least it is if you have a chainsaw in your hands.
In my childhood Chippy Ager and Bill Morris used to come and “brush” the churchyard grass when it reached a certain height. They came in the evening after a day’s work, each with a sickle and a sharpening stone. They worked with a gentle, rhythmic swing. Noiseless, unhurried. Every now and then they paused. The sound of the sharpening stone carried on the evening air.
One of our 21st century drivers seems to be, “Hurry up! Get things done! Move on!” And how does it leave us feeling? Stressed, anxious, and worn out. Sometimes we just need to stop and breathe – literally. To change the rhythm. To change the pace.
Silently, quietly nature responds to its environment. It takes its time. First the snowdrops, then the crocuses, the daffodils, the primroses, the hyacinths and the bluebells. Next door the turf will settle and become a lawn. And if no-one tends it, the brambles, the buddleia and the blackbirds will be back. “To everything there is a season….”