It’s ‘No Mow May’.
The mowing machines are parked.
Dockans grow between their wheels.
Daises and eyebright twinkle in the sun.
Ox-eye, clover, plantain and stitchwort.
Orchids, buttercups, cuckoo flowers and ragwort.
Nod in the breeze.
So lively with the sound of humming bees.
Bugle flowers are blowing, glowing.
The dandelions roar.
The swallows dart low over this living sea.
And every grass seed and waving dock seems adorned with shiny beetles, damson fly and spiders.
So much more than just ‘hay’.
Granted, not so inviting for a cartwheel or a rug.
I find I walk more carefully, barefoot, through it.
Experience a slight fear.
Of lurking thistle prick and nettle sting.
Of crushing something precious.
Of being bitten.
Fallow is not shallow.
It is, at least, knee high.
I stand in this new habitat and appear to grow from it.
I had no idea that all this was here.
Waiting for this opportunity.
So conditioned I had become to cut, make it all tidy.
My need for ease and pleasure prioritised over the flowers right to be.
Now standing here, no longer a Conqueror.
Almost a Saviour.
In the ‘not doing’ I have given birth to
What brilliant flowers might grow in our collective minds I wonder.
Now that societies noisy machine has ground to a halt.
What wild dreaming is, at last, allowed to grow through those silent wheels?
That is one ‘job’ less.
No longer necessary to push those blades, to keep up, fit in.
No longer necessary to keep ’emptying the bag’, in order to stop the mental mower choking with overload.
To make our thoughts all neat and ordered.
Write lists and fill our diaries with ‘things to do’.
To pull out all the ‘weeds’.
What colours, what ideas would self-seed there?
What life would colonize?
Somethings that bite may move in. Some darker prickles.
That we must learn to walk around, accommodate.
But I feel sure there would soon bloom
So many flowers, bursting through,
at last allowed,
To reveal themselves.
Kat Robertson May 2020
And here is the follow-up piece….shared to Facebook 9th of June.
“I caved under pressure.
No Mow May is now officially over.
Where have all the flowers gone?
The problem seems to be that HE has a MACHINE to do this.
That the machine cannot cope if it gets TOO thick.
That ‘What is the point of having this machine if it is not used?’
The once broken,discarded, ride-on, he rescued and repaired last year.
He wants to ‘give it another trim’ too.
I begged him not to.
I suggested a scythe, glancing at his growing girth.
I could have scythed it in Autumn….
But then again…..the docks were starting to seed, rushes, thistles and brambles finding feet, hiding in the grasses….
I spent years digging out the docks, a battle only mowing wins.
We live in a wild place. So full of Life.
There is some comfort in ‘carving a patch’, away from ticks and midges, thorns and stinging nettles.
(It was also one of the ‘worthy’ PAID jobs for teenage boys.
No Mow meant less MONEY for them.)
Just the other day I was ‘wondering’ and found two orchids growing in HIS yard.
(the bigger kind, the rarer kind, not yet in flower)
I made a mental note to let him know where they were.
I heard the strimmer too late.
Such cruel timing, I had not even seen him to say!!
I wept and fell to my knees, talking to the Earth, asking forgivness, and searching for where they once were, to dig them out and replant them somewhere safe.
But could find nothing, just a few speckled leaves thrown out among the grass cuttings.
As I felt around in this ‘war zone’, something moved, where the orchid used to be.
A tiny, tiny lizard.
I cupped it in my hands and showed it to him, my face wet with tears.
‘How amazing that this little thing survived!! Imagine how it experienced your strimmer. Absolute apocalypse!’
He seemed unmoved, defensive.
‘I cannot see these things when I am strimming!’ he said, as if by explanation.
‘Do you even know they are there!? Do you see anything?!!’ I retorted, a tad unreasonably.
I took the lizard to a safer place, where I see other lizards often.
At least he has agreed to leave some wilder bits…..it has taken me years to convince him of this.
I am waiting for a new rake to come through the post.
(Raking is also a paid job for boys.)
We will spread out the ‘hay’ and it will feed the ‘lawn’, any extra will be mulch for my garden.
The scythe will not come out of the shed this year, except perhaps for some bracken here and there.
The bees all seem to be buzzing in the flowerless hawthorn hedge, alarmed.
It is ME that cuts the hedge.
I am the reason it remains a, flowerless, fruitless, hawthorn.
Having researched this I had already determined to leave it alone this year, for flowers and berries next year, now that it is old enough.
Then I read, today, that a good idea is to cut alternate sides each year…..
I DID notice he had mowed AROUND the 3 tiny orchids in the lawn…….
Though ‘No Mow May’ now means I only hear screams, feel Death, when I hear those motors whining…..
All in the balance…… “
Kat Robertson June 2020