There it was so impudently green among the dreary remains of winter. Just four blades, but upright and broad they made their entrance into the ersatz summer day of late February. What combination of gene and season and canine fertilizer came together to bring this grassy presence to leaf is unknown and likely unknowable. Yet the unknowable had become a compelling presence and captured my attention as I sat with my morning cup on the back steps.
With disheveled head and slippered feet I had settled in to sip and contemplate the array of needs and tasks that would entail enticing my small estate from its winter slumber. And while these important matters waited my reflection, I could not widen my gaze from this proud grass. The wood that failed under the assault of winter and needs to be restacked mattered not to this green upstart. The cache of fall leaves needing a rake and the bushes that needed a prune fazed it not one little bit. As the blades shivered in the breeze on this irrepressible morning they did not regard the akimbo brick border or the sun-silvered deck as work of any consequence. The inevitable amendment of soil and planting of flowers and vegetables were without thought or regard by this mistimed plant.
Pulling on my coffee I thought of the lives that had passed on such a patch of grass as this. The backyard picnics and the gathering of friends around a carry-in meal; the boys horsing around at tag football over there and the adults throwing horseshoes in the back; the pie and salads laid out down the center of flannel-backed-cloth covered tables and everything from wieners and hamburgers to ribs and steaks blackening to a delicious finish on the grill.
I recalled a toddler, just, who could be tended and restrained by grass. With the surface of the lawn too yielding to this little one’s tentative steps to venture to walk upon it and its texture too unnerving to bare hands and legs to crawl over it, his mother could set him upon a blanket in the midst of the lawn, tend her flower beds, and nary have a thought that he wouldn’t be there when she again looked.
I ached as I remembered how forgetting to spread the requisite chemicals one spring resulted in a carpet of summer dandelions. And a little girl with her sun-lightened hair carefully sitting in their midst picking mommy and daddy bouquet after bouquet of sunshine and smiles. I never have looked at a dandelion again without marveling at the magic of a little dandelion pollen under a little girl’s chin – “butter”!
The boy is off at college and the girl is raising memories of her own, and so this lawn belongs more to a dog’s game of catch than to child’s summer tent. As I observed the robin entering the yard in search of a meal I resolved to bring my reverie to a close. With the last swallow of cooling coffee I hoisted myself off the step to begin the day. For if the grass is beginning to green there are things that need to be done. After all, there is no little girl to pick golden heads this year.