Grass holds the world together. Over huge areas of the earth, the grass roots bind the soil, preventing erosion, preventing all the land from washing into the sea.
Grass provides food for so many animals of the earth, large and small.
Grass is often very unassuming. No great heights, no gaudy flowers.
I’m a Highveld girl, a child of the waving grass. Green in summer, turning tawny in autumn, rustling pale in the winter. Subject to frequent fires, by winter’s end it seems blackened earth. Then comes spring, when magically from the black comes the vibrant green, showing the little death in fire is just burning off the dross, the power in the base and the roots remains to continue protecting and providing.
Summer grass, magically waving all together in the breeze. It’s apparent softness hides it’s power. A quiet low key power. But it is the glamour of the seedheads in autumn that always fascinate me.
Many years ago I bought a watercolour picture of a single piece of grass with the seed heads. To my sorrow, it has faded over the years until it is just a few marks on the paper.
I love the grass seed heads. Those that look like little bunnies on stalks, always raise a smile. The large swathes of the pale pink fluffy ones growing in the veld making it a moving dancing part of the world.
The more spikey ones, each with elegant spikes of grass arranged in patterns unique to that type, and in colours subtle and beautiful.
We have lost so many hectares of grassland, to urban development, farms and man-made forested areas. The swallows, so plentiful when I grew up, now so few. The long walks through the grass, always with the little warning in the head, there could be almost anything hidden in the grass.
I’m also a sucker for a dense well kept lawn. When we went to visit soccer city before the world cup, I think what impressed me the most was the grass. It’s dense, from several grass types. We couldn’t take off our shoes to walk on it, but my hands pretended to be feet and enjoyed the feel. I wish they would come and make my lawn the same.
Memories of childhood and the smell of cut lawn. Lying on the lawn on a summer afternoon, making sense of the shapes presented by the clouds. Lying on the lawn on a balmy clear summer evening, with the star map, working out where the stars were. Always there to make us comfortable, but not really noticed.