It has a broadband connection and all sorts of fancy capabilities I have never tried or wanted to use. The Earth Summit was a jamboree of promises and commitments: I also have a couple of ditch blades which, despite the name, are not used for mowing ditches in particular, but are all-purpose cutting tools that can manage anything from fine grass to tousled brambles and a bush blade, which is as thick as a billhook and can take down small trees.
If there was an age of human autonomy, it seems to me that it probably is behind us. Their median life span was higher than at any period for the next six thousand years, and their health, as estimated by measuring the pelvic inlet depth of their skeletons, appears to have been better, again, than at any period since—including the present day.
Focus—relaxed focus—is the key to mowing well.
People come to my courses for all kinds of reasons, but most want to learn to use the tool for a practical purpose. It is in this context that we now have to listen to lectures from the neo-environmentalists and others insisting that GM crops are a moral obligation if we want to feed the world and save the planet: If the green movement was born in the early s, then the s, when there were whales to be saved and rainforests to be campaigned for, were its adolescence.
A few years back I wrote a book called Real England, which was also about conviviality, as it turned out.
Lewis and Ivan Illich—I am going to have to change my life in quite profound ways. Like the neoliberals, they cluster around a few key think tanks: You concentrate without thinking, you follow the lay of the ground with the face of your blade, you are aware of the keenness of its edge, you can hear the birds, see things moving through the grass ahead of you.
But archaeology pushes that date much further out; Roman scythes have been found with blades nearly two meters long. Those benefits are what keep us largely quiet and uncomplaining as the machine rolls on, in the words of the poet R. Into this little assemblage slides the tang of the blade.
The best place, to me, was the largest remnant of this plateau that dates from the Tertiary age. Two decades on, things look rather different.
What the book turned out to be about, again, was autonomy and control: Performance is not really the point, and neither is efficiency. Beneath and around them scuttle any number of harder-to-spot competitors for the summer grass, all finding their place in the ecosystem of the tool.
These were blessed moments. The earliest example he gives is the improvement in hunting techniques in the Upper Paleolithic era, around fifteen thousand years ago. Scythe, originally rendered sithe, is an Old English word, indicating that the tool has been in use in these islands for at least a thousand years.
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Another great essay. I enjoy your writing so much Mr. Kingsworth– its like having my innermost feelings, thoughts and ideas given voice in a profoundly eloquent, erudite and insighful way.Download