Posts Tagged With: Grass

Planting the Green, Green Grass of Home

October is spring time for me and I don’t live in the Southern hemisphere.

I can explain.

I grew up with four seasons. The traditional ones. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. Three months, more or less, of each. Winter was the brutal months. Walking to the bus in the near blizzard conditions made me question my desire for an education. The first few weeks of sledding and tubing and snowman construction got old quickly when the snow melted and pooled around my toes in galoshes. I did not like the cold. I still don’t.

Umpteen moves later we’ve temporarily settled, for the past 15 years, in the Phoenix area. Two seasons exist here: hot and warm.

Because of the southwestern desert heat during the summer months of April through September, I stay inside with air-conditioning keeping me cool and sane. Sure, I venture outdoors in the early morning hours before the sun comes up, and after the sun goes down. When the sun’s visible, I try to avoid being out there. It’s brutal. One hundred ten, one hundred fifteen, and that’s in the shade. I get cabin fever stuck inside so much.

If we had a pool I’d be out there more, but that’s a luxury, even here.

By time the temperatures drop below a hundred and the evenings cool into the seventies I feel like a bear that’s been hibernating all winter. Finally, I get to go outdoors, breathing unprocessed air, walking, biking, gardening, swinging kids at the park, picnicking, hiking, living.

I often and mistakenly call the fall months springtime here. Weird, but that’s how my brain processes finally being able to escape the indoors.

photo-18 copy 11I just spent four hours outdoors overseeding my winter lawn with rye grass seed in my backyard. If I don’t do this the cooler temperatures force the Bermuda grass into hibernation mode and I look out on three hundred square feet of dead looking grass until April. It’s not much fun to play on or lie on, or walk barefoot in. Not to mention the dead stuff gets tracked into the house and makes a mess. So, environmentally irresponsible or no, I scalp the lawn, spread the perennial  rye  grass seed, layer on the topping mulch or, (gross) steer manure, and then water faithfully three or four times a day for a week or so.

The end result?  A lush, living, breathing carpet of green as a foreground to my raised vegetable and flower beds.

While spreading the dirt over the freshly scattered tiny seeds, I thought of all the seeds I’ve planted over the years. Vegetables, flowers, grass. Some grew and some didn’t. Some shot up tiny seedlings and then died off. And some took off and grew into incredible plants with a yield that would do any master gardener proud. I just never know what results to expect.

That’s so much like my life.

photo-17 copy 17I’ve put effort into things I thought would produce happiness and satisfaction. I’ve spent time with people I believed I could help or who needed what I had to offer. The various seeds I’ve planted boggle my mind if I think about it much.

And just like the vegetables, flowers and grass, some of my seeds have done nothing. Some looked promising and then died off. And some became a rich and stunning plant that gave back more than I ever put in.

I’m afraid I might have planted too much meaning and hope among my grass seed today. I get a little antsy when I do that. Putting myself into something scares me every time. Over-investing myself in anything feels particularly risky.

Oh well.

I throw the seed out there. I water, I fertilize and I hope.

Categories: Gardening, Hope, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Many Years Ago, Or Just Yesterday

I slip away from the house after school is over but before the pre-dinner chores start-up.  A walk at the park feels like what I need to sort through the weirdness of the day, to think for a few  minutes without a crush of noise and piano music in the background.  There’s too big of a chance that a bunch of little kids would come screaming down the big hill racing each other to the woods, so I figure I’ll head over to the park boundary, near where the orchards and alfalfa fields meet up.

So far, not another person in sight, not even the usual random high school couple parked in the far corner of the parking lot.  Makes me breathe easier to feel like I have the whole place to myself.  At the big hill I’m feeling kid like, so I lay sideways and roll down as far as I can before my lopsidedness rolls me off at a right angle.  I’ve never figured out how to make myself roll straight to the bottom, arms up over my head I go crooked, arms by my sides I go even more crooked.  Dang.


(Photo credit: Matt Ohia)

Shaking my head I clear my hair of grass and leaves.  I love this time of year, not really summer, not really autumn yet.  Still warm days, the leaves mostly green.  My allergies aren’t even bothering me the past few weeks.  Nice not to have a runny nose and itchy eyes for a change.  I kick out a couple of cartwheels.  I go so fast it feels almost like when you spin a bucket of water really fast and the water stays in even when it’s upside down.

Suddenly I feel like I’ve got this extra burst of energy from somewhere and I take off running.  I don’t just run straight, but zoom around like a rabbit or something.  I dive forward into the grass and roll into a ball and somersault to a stop.  I jump up, cart-wheel a couple more times to the edge of the grassy area.  I look behind me, and scan the circumference of the park.  No one here still.  Good.

I step off the grass and onto a barely noticeable path sloping through what looks like tall, pale wheat stalks.  Maybe it’s just wild grasses.  I don’t know.  I just know it doesn’t get mowed and may not even be park property.  It’s probably the boundary for the farmer’s land.  I’ve never seen anyone out here, although there is a tractor parked in different places out on the fields or the dirt road in the distance.  This piece of land I’m on is up above all those cultivated, irrigated, neat rowed areas.  This is like a forgotten little dry hillside that the farmer just ignores.  There’s a small bunch of scrub oak off to the left and a lot more tall grass off to the right leading to the big wooded area of the lower park.  I’m close enough to the park that if Mom sent someone down to the park to holler for me, I’d probably hear them.  But I’m far enough away, that no one can see me where I am.  It’s a cozy little spot of quiet.  I like it.  I like it a lot.


(Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

All that running and rolling and silliness has made my heart race and I feel a bit sweaty.  A breeze would be nice, but it’s not too warm either.  The grass thins out some on the left and I find a spot to sit down.  I all but disappear in the tall grassy wheat stuff.  If I lay down, for sure I’d be as good as disappeared.  That actually sounds nice, so I break off a piece of grass, put it in my mouth and lay back with my arms behind my head as a pillow.  I know you think I’m gonna say, “this is the life,” or something like that.  But I don’t think that.  I don’t think at all.  I just breathe in deep.  I inhale  that dusty dry grass smell, the green smell of the alfalfa, the heat of my own sweaty body.  I breathe all that in because I’m still a bit out of breath.  As I breathe my body relaxes like I’m on a soft feather bed.  My back melts into the ground below me, my legs soften and stretch and ease.  I feel just a bit drowsy but not sleepy.  Actually, it’s more like feeling hypnotized like you do when you’re in a rocking chair on a porch after a game of freeze tag in the evening.

Looking up, the sky has a few little brushes of clouds, nothing really fluffy.  But enough to have not just blue, but white too.  The blue is really something else.  I look at it harder and think, there are stars out there that I can’t see, but they are there.  If I look toward the mountains a couple of miles away I can see the clouds moving, or is it the earth moving.  Or is it both?

Just as I’m noticing the earth moving, in a slow big way, but fast at the same time, I notice the strangest sensation.  It’s like I can feel the ground beneath me breathe ever so slightly.  Like a deep sigh, only warmer, and barely noticeable. I know, you think I have a pretty wild imagination.  You’d be right, I have a really good imagination, but this is not imagined.  This is real.  As real as it gets. I’ve never had anything like this happen before.  This is surprising, but so comfortable and somehow not as strange as it sounds.

I sigh, just as the ground sighed a moment ago and relax deeper still.

The odd thing is that I don’t feel tiny and insignificant.  I feel melted into it all, like I’m part of the sky, part of the earth, part of those grass stalks, part of the smell of green and blue and gold. The earth is me and I have become her.

Categories: Joy, Memory Lane, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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