I’m half way through Paul Kingsnorth’s new book, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. It’s one of those books whose words and images go to bed with you at night and it’s rather melancholic and haunting. One of its messages, that we’ve distanced ourselves too much from nature, reminded me of the back end of last year. I’d offered to hold a 70th birthday party for my mum in December, so the day before the party she came round armed with a bucket and mop as well as chemicals to clean my house in preparation. I told myself that she was trying to be helpful rather than insinuating that the house wasn’t up to scratch, but the jury is still out.
The morning of the party arrived, and so did my brother. Armed with a leaf hoover. He duly set to work, under my disbelieving stares to clean up the leaves from the garden. “Your kitchen is always full of leaves,” said mum. “Shall I buy you one of these for Christmas? They’re ever so good.” I replied that the morning before the party was the first and last time that my garden was going to be hoovered clear of leaves.
The leaf hoover offends me on two levels. Firstly, I enjoy having leaves, foliage and mud out of the garden on the kitchen floor. It helps me blur the lines between the house and the garden. It reminds me of the change of the seasons and how the wheel of the year is turning. Plus, I have a four-year-old, mud and he are as one.
Secondly, it’s an example of technology for technology’s sake. My mum was clearly enamoured of the thing. I just saw a gadget that would take up loads of valuable garage space. If leaves are so offensive, what’s wrong with a rake?
#paulkingsnorth #garden #leaves #nature #modernlife