The Solitary Reaper

I think many people in Sweden associate the actor Max von Sydow with his appearance in the Bergman movie The Seventh Seal where he plays chess with the Grim Reaper. The scene is filmed at Hovs Hallar, a place I've visited several times.
From Skåne July 2015
After having participated in a course focusing on how to manage and care for a scythe, I can now see from all the pictures of the Grim Reaper that he's not especially apt at using his tool. For example, he's not carrying it in the right, safe way and it's seldom made to fit his height from an ergonomically point of view and often the handles are completely missing.

Apparently, The Grim Reaper is a case of conceptual blending when it comes to metaphors. According to Kovecses, two metaphors are assumed and blended: people are plants and events are actions. This might also explain why there are so many inconsistencies between the mythical creature and an actual harvesting reaper.
Our teacher, Lie-Mats, explained that using a scythe is becoming more and more popular in landscaping. A study showed that over time it's more time-efficient to use a scythe instead of a trimmer since the grass doesn't grow back so quickly. In addition, it doesn't need fuel and it's quite. The last aspect is especially important in environments where people come for an experience, such as Gunnebo Castle where the course took place.

William Wordsworth wrote the poem "The Solitary Reaper" although I don't think he had much first-hand experience of that kind of activity. It's hard work (especially when you don't get the scythe "to dance") but it's also very meditative in character and you get satisfaction in the quick results.

However, in terms of metaphors involving death and agriculture, I prefer this poem by Bo Setterlind:

"Det gick en gammal odalman
och sjöng på åkerjorden.
Han bar en frökorg i sin hand
och strödde mellan orden
för livets början och livets slut
sin nya fröskörd ut.

Han gick från soluppgång till soluppgång.
Det var den sista dagens morgon.
Jag stod som harens unge, när han kom.
Hur ångestfull jag var inför hans vackra sång!
Då tog han mig och satte mig i korgen
och när jag somnat, började han gå.

Döden tänkte jag mig så."

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