I walk up and down the field with the noise and vibration of the mowing machine with its bucket attachment that catches the bits of grass and the reverberation bounces off the walls as the grass became short. The vibration thrums through the handles and into my arms, stays there when I let go of the deadman’s handle to empty the clippings and dump another contribution to the pile rotting in the corner and then I re-attach the bucket and pull the rip-cord to start the machine again in one fluid movement that only works if I don’t think too hard about what I’m doing. There is something Zen-like about cutting a lawn when you dislike drawing attention to yourself. The clatter of the machine is initially slightly shocking and the storm of noise makes you feel like all the eyes of the world are staring at you and attention, of course, is the last thing I want so for the first few lengths I walk up and down feeling horribly self-conscious. The noise of the machine is such that you wouldn’t notice if someone walked up behind you until they shouted and touched you on the shoulder. I am on red alert in expectation of this tap on the shoulder and the roar of the engine eventually takes me down into a quiet place deep within myself so that I can concentrate on whatever it is that I’m thinking until eventually the engine removes itself to a place where I don’t notice it anymore and all there is is this quiet space within and I have to keep returning because once I leave this space all I have is the noise again and the lanes of cut grass multiply, follow me with least effort if I concentrate purely on the next run of long grass before me.
I get hot, become part of the machine and lose myself to the extent that I don’t even notice when you tap on my shoulder.