Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In the Grass

There is much going on in the world, especially low to the ground. The grass along the edge of the sidewalk is quickly thickening and turning a healthy shade of green and will soon be the kind of grass perfect for rolling in and getting itchy, and when mowed will smell like dreams of childhood, heavy and rich, as good as anything I can think of.

Small mounds, still a dull brown and not quite the deep earthy red they'll become later have begun to crop up in the seams of the sidewalk where the ants are already hard at work building their colonies. They're small creatures still, and move slowly, with difficulty, as though the world is not quite warm enough yet, but still they drag seeds and whatnots toward the mouth of their tunnels, a focus and determination unmatched. A lot of people don't like ants but I've never minded them, even after plopping down onto a hill at the tender age of two––a sensation I'll never forget. I'm careful with them and choose to watch my steps when I see them. How could I not respect a blind creature that can carry a million times its own weight, establish communities with rigid social structures and work harder than any other member of the animal kingdom I can think of? Even small things, seemingly insignificant, deserve attention because there is poetry in their movement.

There were other surprises in the grass. Down on Marshall a big crow cawed at us from his perch in a tree and while I watched him Duncan gave a sudden tug on his leash and leapt into the tall decorative grass that bushed up around someone's mailbox. There was a flash of movement and he hunkered down. Afraid he'd cornered a rabbit I was somewhat relieved to discover he'd found a cat instead, a big gray and white tom laying in the mulch sunning himself. Remembering the monster cat at The Breakers who ambushed Duncan almost daily from the willows along the lake, hissing and scratching and actually chasing us away, I tried to reel him in but had to stop when I saw the cat had closed his eyes and turned his face up, letting Duncan lick his chin. Duncan spread out on the sidewalk, his tail wagged and he tended to that cat in much the same manner that he looks after me. They were beautiful, the two of them bathed in golden light, the tall yellow grass rising up around them.

Sudden, unexpected friendships are their best when they come with the greening of the world.

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