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Gulliver in Grass

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I am a deckchair, saggy and unbalanced, unfolding myself onto a soft-looking patch of uncut grass.

Before, when the dry grass huddled at my ankles, the air around me felt vast and limitless. I was surrounded by empty space and that space was soft and sunrich. Now, though I am part of a maddening crowd. The air is close, overful instead of expansive, with a constant hiss and whistle of air passing through leaves, punctuated by the burr and chirps of insects whose touch is so much gentler than mine. I’ve crushed beings to claim this spot. A colonial act, this taking space without giving back? Or a clumsy hope that these beings might accept me as one of their own? I breathe dust and the pheremones of plants warning one another that an interloper is among them; crushing stalks and grinding seeds beneath her fleshy bottom without care.

I wish I could communicate to them how deeply I care.
How torn I feel when I think too hard about the irrevocable impact of my existence.
Instead I cross my ankles and crook my knees a little deeper, make them bend into a teepee of denim shadow.

Sound lulls me towards ease. Not the busy insect talk but the constant muttering of grassssses rubbing up againstoneanother, passing rumours on the wind. East to West it carries seeds and secrets; building a world wide web of slender beings whose roles are as numerous as their species.

… … … fooDfaBricTexTureBeauTypLaymaTmeDicineDoormaTBirTHingBeD … … …

Wind shifts slightly and each responds with strange grace and awkward enthusiasm. A single stalk hurls itself to the right with split-second precision. A second later the precision shatters in a giddy shiver of seed heads and waving seed arms. The borrowed energy is too much for its delicate extremities; now bobbing, dancing and weaving in scattergun motion. The grass blows out of control and back to stillness.

I try to lose myself in the kinetic wisdom. How each stalk whips its head in a violent performance of individuality. How it shifts, a moment later, flashing the undersides of its delicate seeds to the sun. I realise, each type of grass has its own moves:

Yorkshire Fog gyrates clouds of purple dots, spiralling in and out, out and round.
Ryegrass shimmies stiffly in a full body ripple that never quite reaches its end.
Rough Meadow Grass twists around its own axis, the seed arms sweeping like torn skirts.
and Cock’s Foot pogos like a punk-rocker, its heavy seed heads banging to the beat of the summer sun.

I pray the wind to move me in such an impossibly easy way. Instead, my bulk remains indebted to gravity.
Feeling every pound of my weight and humanity, I close my eyes.


In that half darkness my body is touched, not with the lightness of these herbaceous dancers but by the spirit lines of their movements. I am Gulliver in Grass, criss-crossed by wires and threads; each one a little different in thickness and texture. Each one the intentional flow of a grass being beside me. I know if I open my eyes they won’t be visible to me; but I don’t need to see the grass to know that these threads are shifting and pulling as the blades dance in the wind. Some pull taught and short and others are loose and travel further. All move with a tension that suggests they are held securely at either end. I wonder what could possibly peg the freedom of grass in place. Where the lines cross my skin there is no pain, but rather a friction, so alluring that the hairs on my arms begin to dance; tugged helplessly into the fray.

I am a deckchair set out on the deck of a boat; solid planks firm and supportive at my back, the sun warm and supple on my limbs and the stripey fabric of my soul flapping and snapping in the wind.

Close up of long dry grasses of many kinds with blue sky and green hills beyond.

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