A metaphor for man’s ha­tred of na­ture

The Irish Times Magazine - - WE LOVE... - JOHN BUT­LER

I am not rich by any means, but I live in a flat in a house on a street with dis­gust­ingly minted neigh­bours. Each has a nice big gar­den that they never sit in be­cause that’s what money does to you and each em­ploys a gar­dener on dif­fer­ent days of the week. So at some point during ev­ery work­ing day, the roar of a leaf- blower surges its way into my con­scious­ness. Mon­day it’s to the right. NRRRRRRRRR. Tues­day, the left. NRRRRRRRRR. Wed­nes­day it’s across the road. NRRRRRRRRR. Thurs­day out back. NRRRRRRRRR. Fri­day it’s at my apart­ment block. NRRRRRRRRR. Each and ev­ery day, the same howl is­sued from the gap­ing maw of a dif­fer­ent ma­chine, frus­trat­ingly in­ter­mit­tent, and loud enough to hurt.

My re­sponse? The same, ev­ery day. I fling up the win­dow, glare down at the rel­e­vant gar­dener, note with res­ig­na­tion that even if he wasn’t wear­ing in­dus­trial ear muffs he wouldn’t be able to hear what­ever in­sult I hurled, then I slam the win­dow back down, re­turn to my desk and won­der why I can’t be more mind­ful.

Con­sider this, though: these dread­ful things run on petrol! Even if the noise hadn’t ru­ined the flow of my work­ing day, I would strug­gle to hap­pen upon a neater metaphor for man’s ha­tred of na­ture than a gaso­line- pow­ered ma­chine that moves beau­ti­ful leaves with­out any human hav­ing to touch them. Oh, and they’re not “leaf” blow­ers. If they were, we’d only hear the vi­o­lent howl when leaves fall. Be­yond the sound, these heavy- metal rakes are used to dis­perse into the breath­ing air what­ever hap­pens to be lay­ing around dor­mant: lit­ter, twigs, rub­bish, dust, dead in­sects, motes of fae­cal mat­ter. NRRRRRRRRR.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.