I love grass. The feel of it, the fresh-cut smell of it, the promise in each bright, green blade. I even love the way it stains your clothes. When I was a teenager, just getting into my “Too-cool-for-everything” phase, my grandmother told me to remember to let my feet feel the earth at least once a day, step off of the cement and touch the ground. I did it, every day. I was never too cool for Grandma.
A few months after Grandma’s sage advice, my BFF Sarah and I rolled down this long, grassy hill. We’d been pals ever since we sat next to each other in Mrs. Armstrong’s class in the second grade. We used to do things like lay on our backs at night in the backyard and look for flying saucers gliding among the stars. Or, one time, we went to this patch of woods a couple blocks away from Sarah’s house and we’d see how close we could get to the trees before Bigfoot ran out and made us his brides.
Anyway, it was late-spring and we were feeling foolish. The hill was the same one we used for sledding in the winter, a mammoth of a thing in Waverly Park. We trudged all the way up to the top and then rolled down, rolling and rolling, faster and faster and faster, through the fresh, green grass, until the ground leveled out. It was better than anything I’d ever felt! Heart beating, breath racing, senses all abuzz… It was Grandma’s plan to the Nth degree!!! It was so incredibly awesome that we decided to do it again. We climbed back up to the top, laid down in the grass and rolled, rolled, rolled.
The second time just made us feel dizzy and a little bit like throwing up.
Sarah and I went our separate ways a few years later. And Grandma is no longer with us. But I still think of them. Every now and then I go somewhere grassy and I just roll back and forth. I keep it simple; flat, solid land. No hills, no flying saucers, no Bigfoot.
Grandma, stepping off the cement up there and letting her feet feel the clouds, would be proud.
~ John Weagly, Chicago, Illinois