How people have their gardens is interesting. What they do with them, even if it is nothing, says much about a person because it embodies something of their relationship with Nature and their own Deep Selves.
Maybe you don’t have a garden and long for one but that too is a relationship, missing space to potter and grow stuff. Or, you only have a potted Yucca to call your own but that can be enough if you love it.
Some feel gardening is just housework out of doors. If you scratch a little you’ll find that Life itself is a drudge, the day a series of tedious boxes to tick all linked together with Obligation’s resentment.
Others ‘maintain’, their patch. Its a notch up from housework-out-of-doors because there’s a little pride in it though it’s limited to space to-be-kept-the-same, the chaos of creative potential held firmly in check.
More are making their mark or making an effort, or having something to do because there is nothing to do..
On the far-side there are the parking lots, Nature supplanted by Tarmac, forecourts for the glittering prize.
More wierd than the Parking-Lotters are the Lawn Brigade, acolytes of a tradition strangely rooted in tyranny and death.
Back in the day, only the rich could afford to hire the many hands needed to scythe and weed the grass, so a lawn was a mark of wealth and status. The earliest lawns, however, had a very specific purpose. They were the closely trimmed verge around medieval castles in France and Britain, kept clear of trees so guards had an unobstructed view of any dodgy blokes in armour that might hove into veiw.
Part of the problem with building big fat castles and hiding your loot in them is that everyone for miles around knows it’s there. The word ‘lawn’ comes from the Celtic ‘laun’ meaning safe enclosure, which sounds very sweet and mystical except that it was invariably a clearing on the other side of which are bearded hordes with a malevolent twinkle in their eye..
and pointy sticks..
The first lawns were battle grounds. Nice to promenade about on with your mates and stretch limbs weary from the Watch, but their real purpose was to deprive everything within bowshot of cover to hide in.
The bigger your castle, the more anxious the need for protection, the bigger your lawn needs to be, a kind of insurance policy reasoned on the likely assumption that the more loot you have the more attention you are likely to receive from unsavoury parties.
The problem with making a bet that something bad is going to happen to you is that it catches the attention of the Fates as well as that of your less than salubrious neighbours who are bound to then usher all kinds of ill to your door…
mostly in the form of armies.
So the status symbol of the pristine lawn originates in fear and conflict precipitated by folk having more than they need. The lawn, gentle epitome of Pimms, Tennis, and that Lounger-in-the-Sun, is actually the yawning gap across which Us is divided from Them.
So the next time you’re out trying to relax on the lawn but finding it difficult to do it justice, it might be down to your endocrine system anticipating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..
and the cannon balls of very bad luck…
but mostly what makes it so difficult for us to relax that we need multi-billion dollar service industries working around the clock to make any kind of dent in it, is good old fashioned Conscience…
.. way deeper than any internalised moral code which knows that both the castle and its sumptuous lawns are bread from the mouths of starving babes and who’s purpose it is to rectify the balance any way it can, including the judicious use of colourful neurotic afflictions and physical symptoms.
Conscience is its own thing, beyond any great influence of the ego. It grows horns and a tail like anything else we try to suppress, becoming a kind of Fury that brings it’s own form of Justice to the table when normal constraints have failed.
It is She who compells any person who has more than they need to..
”unconsciously seek retributive punishment in order to atone and so remove the sense of guilt at having avoided the problem of love.” Frances Wickes.
Curiously, the Palace of Versailles has just obtained a dreamlike piece of ‘lawn art’, pictured above. It is a life size statue of Sarah Kerrigan in her role as ‘Queen of Blades’, an assassin hero from the Starcraft Universe. She is an avenging harpie..
‘Hell hath no fury like a woman swarmed..’ Queen of Blades.
These blades are not for cutting the grass. They are for exacting poetic retribution. When the Principle of Relatedness is cut off for the sake of having power over others She haunts the lawn, working tirelessly behind the scenes to reach those parts that official channels cannot, making us live in the ivory tower the lawn serves…
cut off from self and others.