Grass intrigues me. And when I say “grass,” I’m not talking about marijuana (you know, pot, ganja, weed, dope, herb, chronic, Mary Jane, etc.), but the stuff found in back yards, parks, between cracks in the sidewalk and just about anywhere you can imagine (weather permitting), whether one wants it there (wherever “there” is) or not.
Yes, that grass, the ubiquitous, practical, decorative vegetation that one can find in any habitat with the slightest amount of temperate weather and even modest rainfall.
Grass. The source of weekly appointments with my electric lawnmower (April through October), the place where neighborhood dogs relieve themselves, and where kids (and sometimes adults) lie on their backs to watch the clouds (hopefully, not in the same spaces where the dogs do their “duty,” or “dooty,” as the case may be).
Grass. That thing which occupies the massive expanse between the goalposts of a football field (if it hasn’t been replaced by some repulsive, synthetic “turf” – I’m a purist when it comes to ballfields and sports; don’t get me starting on the designated hitter), or the beautiful sight one sees when emerging from the concourse and into the grandstand of a baseball stadium.
Grass. The touch of “rural” that grows in places like Central Park, a refuge from the hustle (and yes, bustle) of Manhattan.
Grass. That hearty, determined fighter that can grow in intense sunlight, constant shade and in all types of soil.
Yes, I’m talking grass, a staple of many species’ diets, and the living space for all sorts of tiny creatures, many of which we call “pests,” but which are vital to our ecosystem, regardless of how itchy, bitey, creepy-crawly or simply physically unattractive they appear to us humans.
“This intrigues you, Dave? Really? This is what’s on your mind?” you ask with that one-eyed squint and cocked head that tells me you think I’ve lost some gumballs.
Yes, this is what intrigues me, but not in a scientific, economic or ecological way, but rather, in the same way my hair intrigues me. You see, lately, I’ve been frustrated with the grass in our yard, much as I’m frustrated with my hair, and not just the hair that grows on my head. (Don’t worry, I won’t go into grave and gory detail on that, but it’s a key component to the story.)
In short, our yard and my head (and other parts, the parts I promised not to go into grave and gory detail about), are living (and to be frank, dying) parallel lives. Seems as though hair grows beautifully on some parts of my head, but not all parts of my head; specifically, the parts where I really want it to.
On the other hand, I can’t seem to stop it from invading those places on my body I don’t want it to grow. (If you’re a man of a certain age, or have a close relationship with one, you know what I’m driving at, so no need to expound.)
Same goes for our lawn. Parts of our yard look beautiful, with lush, green grass growing throughout the spring and summer (thanks in part to a molasses-based, non-chemical treatment we apply that I’m pretty sure is edible yet not something I want to pour on my pancakes or use as a post-workout electrolyte replenisher), while others can’t sustain more than a few blades, these areas looking more like a vacant lot or the surface of an unexplored planet than a verdant green space.
ASIDE: “Verdant” is a strange word to me, one I first – and exclusively – heard in church as a kid (Psalm 23), yet I thought “What the hell, it seems like a good secular opportunity to use it.” So, I did, though after re-reading it, noticed its inclusion seems clumsy and forced, if I may take this opportunity to self-edit.
And, like my hair (specifically, the stuff growing in the “non-head” regions of my body), it pops up in virtually all the places I don’t want it to (between cracks in the driveway, in the flower patch along the front of the house, growing up through our backyard deck, etc.)
I guess this is what being “my age” (like the grave and gory details about my body hair, I’ll leave it up to you to determine what “my age” means, because with every passing day, I find it more grave and gory myself) means.
It means I look out the window and not see all the beautiful grass and other vegetation -- the verdant-ness (Verdancy? Verdantation? Verdantocity?) -- in our yard, but only the “comb-over” sections where we’ve tried unsuccessfully to make it seem like we have more grass than we do.
On the other hand (or head), when I look in the mirror (the window to the soul, I’ve been told), I don’t see all the parts of my head (and body … ugh!) where hair is growing, I only notice those critical spots where I can’t grow any hair to save my … well, soul.
However, like our lawn, I don’t use artificial “turfs” to mask bald patches or “fertilizers” (edible or otherwise) to grow new hair or to “wake up” the latent follicles in the empty spaces on my head. (Notice I said, “empty space on my head,” not in … two very different issues of which I’m well aware … and working on.)
Yet both frustrate me. So many lawns – and so many heads – have no trouble at all. They’re grown and they’re mown, washed, rinsed and repeated. They’re trimmed and weed whacked. They’re combed, brushed and even teased. Oh, what fun that must be!
But me, I’m just hanging on for dear life to my lawn and my mane, hoping nature finds a way to go easy on both, and not steal any more of our precious commodities, or find new and frustrating places for either (or both) to pop in like an unwanted guest, one who refuses to leave.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to put on a ballcap and get out and water the new seed I just threw down on that pesky bare patch in the front yard.
© 2022 David R. Haznaw