Mower Man

March 29, 2006

I spent more time than I care to remember during my childhood mowing lawns. Even the brief jubilation of owning a ride-on at 15 quickly faded – probably due to the fact that my Dad got an under powered machine that I then had to use on our over sized property. There’s probabaly a whole of lot childhood ‘issue’ stuff mixed up with mowing for me but I’ll just keep on supressing that for the moment.Bascially it’s taken me a long time as an adult to get into lawn mowing – I still can only bring myself to mow once a month and even then that’s only because the kids are in danger of getting bee stings from the clover that took over from the proper lawn that I seeded.

There is one thing that I like about mowing though and that’s mowing gorse. For those of you unfamiliar with New Zealand, gorse is one of those introduced species that really likes the climate and is attempting a take-over of the entire country. It’s a nasty prickly plant and needless to say I had a bad experience with it as a child and ever since I can’t stand the stuff. I think the feeling is mutual. Anyway there’s nothing more satisfying than mowing down young gorse plants. Mature ones are a bit too big for the domestic mower. As a kind of joke I sent a short video of myself mowing chest high gorse to a friend in the UK. My friend called it Extreme Mowing.

Here’s where I get to the point: A few days after the extreme mowing incident it began to dawn on me that there was something about mowing that seemed to be representative of mainstream New Zealand culture as a whole. The repressive domination of things natural. The extreme control for the sake of control that made our country what it is today. The sheer pointless waste of energy.

Only now I discover that lawns and the mowing there-of is just one more piece of cultural imperialism from the USA. Via the Anthropik Network I discovered this brilliant article; ‘Why Mow‘ by Michael Pollan, which explains everything.

BTW I wonder if it’s significant that my current mower was a gift from my father?


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