Thursday 12 November 2020

Sam Gamgee no more! Noise, stench and rush: the pseudo-gardeners of 2020


The archetypal gardener is Sam Gamgee, quietly and leisurely clipping the hedges or lawns of Bag End; or - at this time of year - raking leaves. Gardening was associated with peace, and absorbed contemplation. Gardeners were usually slow thinkers - but wise with an earthy common sense; borne of slow, sustained, tranquil tasks. 

Not any more! The gardeners of 2020 - whether professional or hobbyists, have made gardening into a variant of all that is vile in mainstream modern life. 

Raking the lawn, while enjoying the smells and sounds of autumn; has been replaced by a frantically hurried operative, deploying an ear-splitting 'leaf blower', muffled with eye- and ear-protection, and surrounded by the acrid stench of a two-stroke engine. Neighbours for a raduis of half a mile are compelled to share in the broadcast pollution. 

Even worse are those wood-chippers into-which allegedly 'eco-friendly' gardeners feed twigs and branches to make a crude mulch. Some of these are as noisy as a pneumatic drill, spray high velocity particles like a fragmentation grenade... and again there are billows of exhaust fumes. 

Hedge-trimming is another urgent, noisy activity replacing a thoughtful one; and the gentle boc boc of a woodman's axe is replaced by the screaming chainsaw. 

Gardening has become just-another busy, loud, smelly, expensive, meaningless modern chore; and as of 2020, gardeners - as a species - are very-nearly as smugly entitled as... cyclists



MagnusStout said...

Gardening and despotism: at the start of the Birdemic, my state (Michigan) along with several others actually outlawed the purchase of seeds and most gardening supplies. My wife recounted that on one of her social media feeds that issue caused many people to say that gardening was "killing people." Shockingly, they also made parks "illegal" as well (for a time).

ToTheRightRon said...

The pace of modern life is a curse.

No time for people to actually observe, think and reflect on reality.

Even our gardens and yards have to be set up for maximum efficiency and production using all the latest tools and techniques.

Francis Berger said...

Good observation. The photo you have included in the post looks like something out a post-apocalyptic science fiction film.

Bruce Charlton said...

I suppose gardening is an example of how Ahrimanic thinking can take anything and make it bad - just as happened with everything else.

William Wildblood said...

I so agree with this. I don't have a very big garden but I cut the hedge that goes down one side with a pair of shears and mow the lawn with a hand mower. My neighbour has concreted his whole garden over. I don't love him.

Brief Outlines said...

Abso-bloody-lutely! I worked as a gardener for many years and when a leaf blower was introduced I loathed it. You don't become a gardener to make lots of money - so why anyone would choose a leaf-blower over a rake on grounds of it being quicker is beyond me. You're quibbling over peanuts!
The only conclusion is that the person who prefers a leaf-blower has "ein Blick das leer ist."

Bruce Charlton said...

@Amo - That's interesting to hear - I didn't know this about you. I suppose you know that another of my favourite Steinerites - Jeremy Naydler - likewise worked as a gardener (in people's gardens - not commercially) for several decades; and has written very well about the activity in Gardening as a Sacred Art, and Soul Gardening. John Butler (of the 'Unfoldment' videos on YouTube) was an organic farmer who for many years used only hand tools - not even a plough - in other words, he gardened his farm - there is an excellent BBC documentary from the 1970s depicting this.

(Unfortunately, my own plans to do real gardening in retirement - and get an allotment with a shed - were stymied by both back and knee arthritis.)

William Wildblood said...

I knew a chap in India who cut his lawn, quite a rough patch not like a trim English lawn but still his lawn, with what was not much more than a large pair of kitchen scissors. He did it squatting down and said it was like a meditation for him.

a_probst said...

For decades I've thought that those wood chippers would make for a great nightmare sequence in a movie. At the climax of a chase, the dreamer is flung up in an arc and plunges into a wood chipper. A POV shot shows the mouth of the intake growing nearer while the roar of its engine gets louder. A brief sight of dimly-lighted gears and blades. The engine seizes up... GEEEEYirrt! Cut to silence and a close-up of the sleeper as his eyes flash open and he gasps.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

“There is a concatenation of events in this best of all possible worlds: for if you had not been kicked out of a magnificent castle for love of Miss Cunegonde: if you had not been put into the Inquisition: if you had not walked over America: if you had not stabbed the Baron: if you had not lost all your sheep from the fine country of El Dorado: you would not be here eating preserved citrons and pistachio-nuts."

"All that is very well," answered Candide, "but let us cultivate our garden."

And he strapped on his leaf-blower.

Brief Outlines said...

To Bruce

Yes, I knew that about Jeremy too. I think gardening is the best job in the world (if you can avoid the machinery) but I too had to stop due to it being too taxing on the back.
Thanks for the BBC recommendation, I look forward to watching it!

Nick said...

Here in the belly of the technocratic beast of Silicon Valley, leaf blowing is the forte of mostly illegal aliens from Mexico. The digital brahmins can't be bothered to do any work themselves, nor does the "leaf blowing" even blow many leaves for much of the year! It's a daily ritual staggered throughout the neighborhood to explode dirt, mold particles and ear drums into the stratosphere as a type of status symbol. It's not unlike women with grotesquely long fingernails who have them to demonstrate that they don't have to work with their hands. This way these sorcerers "save time", I suppose to be spent on better addicting their users to dopamine-releasing apps.