Mowing the lawn is among my favorite activities, and one that I look forward to with eager anticipation. It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and completion which makes me feel safe.
First: It offers immediate gratification which is comforting to a compulsive personality (not that I would know about that). Second: Everything becomes neat, tidy and symmetrical. Right there on the other side of my rose tinted lenses, I’m handed the much coveted illusion that I have control of a situation. Third and most important: I stand erect and self satisfied (even proud) over my pristine emerald green domain inhaling the exquisitely intoxicating scent of freshly mown grass. Basking in the afterglow of another fulfilling encounter with my lawn, I’ve been known to to entertain the fantasy that the scent of grass is my reward for a job well done……..a grassy thank you note……….only different.
Imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that the intoxicating scent of freshly mown grass is actually a cry of distress equivalent to a death scream in a war zone. It is caused by a chemical reaction through which Green Leaf Volatiles (GLV) are released by the grass. This reaction is, in essence, the silent (to humans) voice from the front lines of the battle field to the rest of the lawn screaming “SHE’S HEADING YOUR WAY!!!!”
When I was first told this by a friend, I was convinced that she was just messing with my head (not hard to do, according to some). I chuckled to myself “I’m on to you! No way are you going to ruin my grass cutting ecstasy!” But…best to play it safe, so I googled it. Truth. Each of my joyful memories began to drop away, one by one like a leaking faucet. (plop, plop, plop)
I slowly took off my rose tinted lenses, placed my clear lenses on my nose and realized with brain scorching clarity that I’ve been committing genocide on my lawn for years. I’ve been intoxicated not by the scent of a grassy thank you note but by the scent of grassy terror. Through my clear lenses I now see my lawn as a turf of blood.
Understandably, this may seem silly in the extreme to some people, but I’m saddened by the realization that my pleasure has caused distress to another form of life. Needless to say, I’ll continue to mow my lawn but with more sobriety and a deeper sense of reverence for this earth which so graciously offers us a home.