This morning quite early, before the sun climbed to its sitting position on my mountains, the droning began. At first it was far away, then almost insidiously it crept into my awareness as it came closer. By the time the sun was touching the roof of my house, the belly of the small aircraft was also almost doing the same as it flew over. Again and again. The drone of the engine was so overwhelmingly loud and so very close it made the whole house audibly vibrate. Over it would go, then swoop low to fly over the neighbour’s fields of sown grain. And as I watched, the mists came down. When the distance of the field had been crossed, the plane would climb steeply and turn around and come back. What would it be like, I wondered, to be out walking and have those mists descend on me….
It really is the strangest looking craft. Very small, with a tiny cabin and unusually long snout, almost like a cartoon drawing of a stinging fly. And the standard yellow colour I would suppose is to make it visible – if you don’t hear it first. I have never met a pilot who flies one of these small aeroplanes but it would be interesting to, as they must surely have hair on their teeth.
The dangers of flying so low are obvious, and not least the high tension, high voltage electrical cables suspended in the sky……these planes fly beneath those.
So I can’t help imagining that the sort of guy who likes this kind of job must be a wannabe kamikaze pilot – “Kamikaze” – somebody who borders on crazy, fanatical and self-destructive. He might be brave, but he can’t afford to be foolish.
Six years ago when we were still new in this area, I remember my sheer panic one morning when a small plane suddenly started flying over our house. I ran to my studio window, which is upstairs beneath the roof, flung it open and leaned out. We were under attack! This plane to all appearances was trying to line itself up with our house with each overhead swoop. My mind raced, thinking who we might have offended or crossed in this unknown world, that they should be so viciously dive bombing us! I had not ever seen such a strange looking craft either; for all I knew, it was specially built for dropping bombs…. Fortunately I kept my head and didn’t do something normal like call for reinforcements. Ten minutes later I was laughing at myself. This was not an attack on me or my family, this was an attack on weeds.
Those mists that come down are the poisons that kill weeds. So many things threaten the health of crops…too much rain (drowning, rot and fungal infestation), too little rain (poor germination and growth)… How ironic it is then, that to save our crop so that we may eat, we must poison our planet.
I have read about the pressure being put on giant Monsanto about their widely used broad-spectrum herbicide, Roundup, which according to its press release, offers enhanced, consistent weed control, weed to weed and field to field, even hard-to-control weeds. Glysophate is the active ingredient in Roundup. There are crops that are genetically engineered as “Roundup Ready” – programmed to withstand extremely high levels of Roundup without dying along with the weed. Due to their resistance, these crops are generously doused, which means that they are far more contaminated with glysophate than conventional crops.
And you know what that means, don’t you…..we are eating those contaminated grains in our cereals and breads.
What are we supposed to do? Help!