a tapestry of grass

by rebecca on June 21, 2010

Post image for a tapestry of grass

       Today I am creating an altared space out of blades of grass. I live on a plain road with only two letters and a fraction, ¼, that substitute for a name. I live where it is so rural that the blades of grass are my neighbors. They each have a character all their own.

       Some are plump and bulbous, standing tall and stout with their big wheat bellies proud that they can feed the world. Others are willowy, slender and apt to blow in the slightest breeze.

       A sea of purple grass makes a bed of lace in this field before me. These grasses magically transform the hillside throughout the year. In May and June I see green, July and August bring golden and September ushers in the regal purple and orange hues. An entire hillside is redressed all from single blades of grasses standing tall.

       Standing tall they make visible what I cannot see. The wind begins to play with them and then they dance. They bow, they wave, they undulate, like waves at the sea. The grass is expansive here and the wind comes and together they intertwine, making what was previously invisible, seen because of movement.

       I watch as the tall man wearing his skinny puzzle grass suit tries to remain erect as next to him our lady of the lace bows low sweeping her tendrils of hair almost to the ground then rises again. She looks up at the sky, sweeps her head around and begins to bow again. Together with her sisters she leads as the wind whispers its chorus and they dance together creating the waves I see from my porch.

       It puts me in mind of the differences of each of us human blades of grass waving about in our potting soil of life. We each wave at the wind hoping to be caught in a gust of life’s movement that will allow us to stand tall and catch an eye or two. Maybe we will get swirled up in a gale of love, success or the ever coveted happiness.

       Some days I want to stand out from the crowd and be distinct, my own tall tower. I want to matter. I want to know that my voice, my shape, my color, everything I lend the world will contribute toward making my little road with no real name a place someone, someday will want to remember.

       I want someone with lace to bow to me. I want to be near someone bow-worthy. I want to be so caught up in the swirl of life that it moves me uncontrollably. Until it happens.

       When drama comes knocking at my door and my telephone rings at 2am saying someone I love is laying in a California hospital and I board a plane and kiss my babies goodbye, that’s a time I’d rather the wind didn’t blow. When my family had to move because the life I thought I’d carved out in this town had to be remade in another where my husband was accepted to graduate school, well, it was tough to uproot.

       When I’m so singled out, and my tiny blade of grass feels like it’s growing on its own, I long for a field in which to bloom. I long to be part of the painting; lending my blade and hue to the tapestry that colors the hillside. I want to know that nothing rests entirely on my shoulders. I color nothing alone. Mine is but a drop in the millions of blades it takes to change the field from green to golden to purple.

        If I bow, it’s because we all bow, in deference to something larger than ourselves. We all stand tall together, creating a field that changes from season to season, right round again in a circle game. Perhaps there is some anonymity in that field of grass, the lack of a proper street name. But there are companions to color my life.

        How about you? Do you enjoy anonymity or do you like standing out in a crowd? What invisible winds have been blowing you about making you bow to your neighbors? Have you ever been transplanted and felt lonely in a field all by yourself?

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen @ Motherese June 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Lyrical. Powerful. Beautiful. Thank you, Rebecca.

I live in a housing development where we have deed restrictions dictating how we must keep our yards. My son and I were out playing last week in the tall grasses and wildflowers that had grown on the empty lot next door. He especially loved darting in and out of the plants that were as tall as he was and watching the butterflies that flitted from blossom to bloom. Imagine his sadness and mine when a man on a tractor leveled the plants during his nap that very day. “My butterfly garden is gone,” he cried when he woke up and looked out the window.

Sounds like he and I need to come visit you.

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Stacia June 21, 2010 at 2:47 pm

This line gets me: “I color nothing alone.” Wow. And I love the personification of the grass and plants. What superior imagery!

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Eva @ Eva Evolving June 21, 2010 at 4:45 pm

Beautiful photos. The first and second remind me of my childhood home, the farm fields of mesmerizing ripples blowing in the wind. There’s something deeply calming to me to walk through the field and let my hands gently brush the stalks. It’s like my roots are there, and being there reminds me of who I am.

I guess I like to be anonymous. I like to live in a big city and be able to blend in. i don’t like to step away from the crowd, to draw attention to myself.

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rebecca June 21, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Kristen,

Why, oh why did he mow?? And how you pine for those butterflies!!
Of course you and your sons are welcome in our mountains any time.

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rebecca June 21, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Eva,

It surprises me that you like to be anonymous and that is why I love this exchange…learning about people and all the juxtapositions that make them up.

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Yvette Francino June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

As usual, your metaphores are thought-provoking and your photos are beautiful. Do I want to stand out alone and unique or be caught in a crowd? I suppose it depends on the circumstances. There are times when it’s comforting to be bold and unique and the center of attention. At other times, I want the comfort of being surrounded by others who will give me security, companionship, or anonymity. It’s that question of balance again, isn’t it? Funny at how it can apply to so many things in life.

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BigLittleWolf June 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm

What diversity and beauty! Those of us who live in more urban terrains often miss out on what you’ve described and photographed for us. Very lush, very welcoming, and you’ve invited us into your space, which does indeed seem sacred.

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SuziCate June 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

Thanks for bringing this past post to my attention…I love it. I was once uprooted to a place that I felt I no longer was bowed to, a place where I felt the wind was holding me down, and was happy to return to the place I helped color the fields. Funny, now I am content to blend though I suppose in my own way I am still helping paint the landscape.

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rebecca June 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

SuziCate,

What I got out of your post today is that when we are coming into our maturity that is when we truly paint by blending. That’s what made me think of the grasses. I love this idea. It’s growing somewhere inside me and I see it in full bloom on your hillside.

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