No Mow May: Less Is More

Almost cut my hair
Happened just the other day…

But I didn’t and I wonder why
I feel like letting my freak flag fly – “Almost Cut My Hair,” Crosby, Stills, and Nash

 The No Mow May movement arrived here with little fanfare.  A few people quietly began to let their freak flags fly – that is, stopped cutting their grass – and vowed not to mow in May.  The trend caught on:  there are now hundreds of shaggy lawns in town, of the kind complained about by neighbors and cited by the city. But the non-mowers are confident that the tall grass will attract bees and pollinators for wildflowers and other plants.

The No Mow May movement began in the UK a few years ago, and has finally crossed the oceans, mountains, wildfires, and prairies to our city.  It is official:  the mayor has endorsed it. And residents will not be fined for unruly lawns till June 1.

On a walk today, I saw many No Mow May signs. They seem to have popped up overnight. I’m interested and amazed by the many earnest signs in our neighborhood, which have ranged from mostly Democratic political signs (I saw an old Bernie sign recently) to Black Lives Matter to Pro Choice to We Are Invested in Our City.  But put up a sign and then what?  Finally, here’s a movement that requires no action.

I am impressed by the “grassroots” commitment of the No Mow May supporters. Today I gazed at a lawn so tall that it almost obscured the small house standing behind it.

 Yet they seem a bit naive about the consequences of No Mow May.  At the end of the month, when they try to mow a 12-inch-high lawn, their mowers – push mowers and electric mowers pollute less than gas, by the way – will not be up to the job. They will need a scythe,  or perhaps some high- polluting lawn service. .Some experts advise cutting the grass a few inches at a time during May, so as not to stress the grass at the end of the month and dislodge the pollinators. 

At our house, we have always been into mowing less.  Indeed, we should all progress from No Mow May to a grass curation program.  Deciding when to mow, by observing the demands of growth during rainfall or the stress of dry weather and drought, is more practical than following a schedule and causes less pollution. This system has brought bees, pollinators, and butterflies to our yard, though not without mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.

What this country needs is a charismatic leader of a do- less environmental movement that achieves more than doing nothing Perhaps Paul Atreides in Frank Herbert’s Dune or Austin Train in John Brunner’s The Sheep Looked Up would be up to the task? 

I’m turning to fictional characters. Any real-life candidates?

(And I wrote about The Sheep Looked Up here. )

Author: Kat

I am an avid reader. The book blog is the perfect forum for bookish musings. Enjoy!

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