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Saturday, 2 May 2009

Is A Quiet Lawn Mower Too Much to Ask?

Amid all the cosmic questions, the meaning of life, the meaning of enlightenment, the question of suffering and reasons why people choose to make war, is a very mundane one, which recurs as soon as the sun appears in spring. Why is it that scientists can send rockets into space, can manipulate (unfortunately) genes, can create the amazing internet and have messages pass from one continent to another in less than a second, but no one has yet created the quiet lawn mower?

In the older days of my youth, the sound of lawns being mowed was a steady crkkk...crkkk and, pushing the old mower was kind of therapeutic and good exercise. It was as though the grass itself was happily yielding to being pruned. Nowadays, the sun comes out and the moment we are suddenly uplifted by the beauty of the song of the birds it is drowned out by the whirring, the screaming, screeching, battle of machinery against nature. It drums and hums through the ears in such an excruciating way that all you can do is either make a louder noise yourself or climb into the wardrobe with your fingers in your ears!

And after the mowing, comes the strimming, which is the higher-pitched whirring of a machine that looks relatively innocuous when silent, but out it comes and plays on all your nerves more fiercely than a dentist's drill!

Please, dear scientists, instead of messing around with genes and trying to create life in test tube, could you find a way to make garden tools which seem to blend with, rather than battle against, Nature? Could you perhaps make a lawn mower that has some kind of built-in mechanism that sounds like birds or rippling streams? Could you perhaps make something that makes no noise at all, or replicates the sounds of the old crkkk...crkkk - which was rather pleasant? Tomorrow, when I cut the grass, I wish it wasn't necessary to make such a racket about it. Perhaps I can still find an old-fashioned push-me-pull-you lawn mower...

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