Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Grass

Reprinted from the Road to Rushmore 2010 blog about a road trip I took with two friends earlier this July. I write there as whitecrispprotectivecap.

It’s like going into one of those specialty stores in New York City that sells only one thing, like candy for instance. You have seen candy throughout your life and never paid it much heed. But here are aisles upon aisles, shelves upon shelves, of candy. Mundane candy even -- regular old Skittles and Reeses and whatnot. Nothing special. But when there is really that much of it, it becomes profound. You can’t believe someone mounted such an effort.

In South Dakota, it’s all about grass. Not even varieties of grass -- pretty much just one kind, I think. And that one kind they do very well. This grass is noble. Several times, glancing at a grass field, I mistook it for young corn. Just like everything else out in South Dakota -- the dandelions, stairwells, hotel rooms, main streets, Mahler symphonies -- the grass has room to be bigger, and it is. It has large blades. It grows tall. And its stems are spaced farther apart so that you can look down between them and see the ground like cracked, white scalp. If you pull too much grass, you’ll leave that scalp unfastened to flake away and start a new patch of Badlands.

The wind causes the grass to shimmer. It chases flashing, silvery patches like speeding dolphins breaching a water’s surface from horizon to horizon, prairie power running wild.

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