Many of us think that Armageddon is some far off event or a Christian myth. But a great Armageddon happened today, right outside my house … on my front lawn to be more exact. A vast multitude of living creatures in the millions were mercilessly hewed and torn asunder by a great and terrifying vortex of death that kills indiscriminately, fluttering here and there to ensure a through annihilation of all it finds in its path.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, the conjurer of that vortex is my dated, electric lawn mower. It is not like a traditional mower – a sort of wheeled instrument that one pushes around the lawn. Rather it looks like a deformed stick with a spinner at the end. Mowing a lawn with a pathetic tool like that is a torture for one’s back and should be avoided at all costs. I’m quite pathetic, so I have few qualms about mowing with such a machine. Furthermore, it allows me to witness my sheer and insensitive brutality as I cleave through a million living things: all manners of grass, weed, dandelions, wild flowers and timid insects. The sound of the mower is terrifying: an obnoxious, loud braying like a chainsaw. When the spinning wheel with its deadly plastic strings make contact with the brave stalks of weed and tall grass, their defense perishes and they fall, defeated and dead. I can almost hear the cries of suffering as the strings of death face resistance for half a millisecond, and then prevail utterly. To most, a mowed lawn is a happy affair as it frees the clutter from our lawn and ensures no foul snakes or other vermin are slithering in the forest of tall lawn grass. But to the grass, it is an Armageddon. To the thousands or millions of bugs and wildlife in the lawn, it is a holocaust, an utter disaster from which each creature must recover … only to face the same disaster again.
It is astounding to me, that the lawn grass never reaches its full growth on a well groomed lawn. After each calamity, it resumes its futile effort to grow taller and taller, only to be cut down yet again. The same is for the weeds. One could hack and hew the weed out of existence, yet it finds some way to return, almost with a spirit of revenge saying “Look, you can cut me down several times, but I’m here to stay.”. The life of the lawn grass is perhaps the most miserable and most inspiring in all of creation. For what organism is planted specifically with the intention to grow, but is forcefully told “NO! Grow only a little! You only look nice at a certain height!”. Yet this organism refuses this order and grows. And it is disciplined. And it grows again, and it is disciplined again and this process continues until one party is exhausted. This party is most certainly not the grass.
Our lawn gives us a profound insight into the natural world. It is a world of the dead and dying, but also a world with a perilous spirit for living. It is a violent world but this violence produces the beauty we relish: our lavish gardens and forests. It is a world where its creatures are in constant toil for growth, but at any moment, this goal is stripped from them. But they somehow return with a stronger, undying spirit and trudge on. It is a world of relentless as the humble grass toils and the humble grass struggles to achieve its full height.
All this we can learn, from the simple act of mowing our lawn.
The Quran so vividly and concisely captures this nature by saying:
There is a lesson in here somewhere, for perhaps we human beings, are not that different from the blades of grass.