Thursday, August 19, 2010

Noise pollution

I was going to spend an hour this morning before work playing with a poem revision, but the gardening service our condo association has hired has a crew full of men wielding the loudest instruments I've ever heard: edgers, mowers, and blowers. And they have no pattern of work, perhaps finishing our side of the complex all at once, then moving to the next area. First, the edger comes along, with a noise like a table saw that starts up and powers down every few seconds, making me wish I were deaf. A half hour later comes the mower, who goes over and over a tiny patch of balding grass that in the 15 years I've lived here has never thrived, probably because it's never properly thatched. Just as soon as peace descends for another 15 minutes, the blower guy comes by, and he's clearly marking time, making the most elaborate passes back and forth to cram all downed leaves into the edges next to the buildings, where they will absorb moisture and create dry rot.

This, sadly, is not a poem or a poem revision. It is a gentle screed against this rape of the environment, powered by noisy gasoline engines. Before we worry too much about exhaust from cars despoiling the atmosphere, maybe we should consider the fact that one of these crews works on almost every yard once a week. There is no mitigation of the exhaust or the noise. Maybe we need to rethink this whole way of caring for the landscaped environment.

And now, for the 15 minutes of quiet, I will consider my poem.


  1. Anonymous10:23 AM

    And, over the decades of this abuse, and the countless pounds of fertilizer, aeration passes, plugging, re-sodding, seeding and mounds of mulch, what has been attained are tiny patches of balding grass mixed with bare patches of the latest application of something. And "grass" areas that are now about 8" higher than when we moved in - and JUST as awful looking now as the day we arrived. Now when the landscape irrigation comes on, it simply washes dirt and fertilizer onto the sidewalks where it gets tracked onto our stairways and into our homes. You would expect, after all this time, effort and countless meetings about what needs to be done, that we would look upon an emerald carpet of pristine gorgeousness...but NO! The powers that be have never been able to understand that not much light, and a slope mean it will NEVER be better, and we have almost two decades to prove it. My favorite moment was when the Latino crew boss explained to the physicist that the slope means the water just runs off~ he was very very patient with the scientist! Astounding. Every suggestion for xeriscaping and water saving native plants has been met with stubborn stone silence. By GOD, we will have these lawns, even if it bankrupts us ALL!!

  2. That's why poetry is so important - it helps us escape the noise of the everyday.

    (My son mows my lawn every other week or so, and I've got an electric weed-wacker)