Ground Level Skirmish

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

Ground Level Skirmish

Here at the college with its great swath of green
setting off the new library
you know that
enormous numbers of blades of grass
were needed to get that lawn to be a lawn
and they’ve all got to cooperate
to keep that great swath of green going.
Visitors to campus admire
the diagonal stripes the mower makes
repeating itself up and down the
center lawn but it’s the grass
allowing it to happen.
The order is temporary
and fragile. The blades of grass
one at a time decide to grow or not
and it’s never


“Grassy Point”, collage, 2009 (?)

17 thoughts on “Ground Level Skirmish

  1. Yes, and being a person who wants order, craves it, lives for it, well, I’m always fighting. Mowing the grass to me (I find it relaxing) is a way to bring order, but — there is always that tension of – it won’t stay that way. A metaphor for existence (kind of mundane, but – that is where I am coming from!)

  2. I think panic/focus is a very productive location – me, I am hoping to be on that / between them, get the impetus of panic with the pointed tool of focus, then, well, things happen! Glad you liked the tour. I’m interested in doing more of these photo walk-alongs (like the one I did in the park a while back on the Confused blog). I enjoy cataloging the very ordinary like that, it becomes interesting when you – focus – on it.

  3. Ah. The endurance of grass. It is tough and determined stuff. And I’ve never managed the decorative stripe thing – though I’ve admittedly not really applied myself in that regard.

  4. I’ve never gotten my grass to do the stripe thing either. I tend to feel if it is all the same length, well, I have done my job, weeds and all. But I can appreciate the art form of grass cutting!

  5. Feel free to come over and try to instill order on our grass at any time. 😉 Definitely no stripes here in our collection of grass and weeds that is not really a lawn, but I noticed my neighbor across the street has them. 😉

    I was thinking of you yesterday when my sister posted a photo on FB of something she did with kids at the Roslyn library. It was some kind of art project where they were creating parts of the town. (She’s a commissioner.)

  6. We have neighbors with striped lawns, which I admire, but it is just not me. This yard was a plot of grass with misshapen bushes crammed against the house and a sunken cracked sidewalk when we moved here – this is our vision that exists today. And that walkway, after we took out the sidewalk, we put in those flagstones ourselves. Bad idea, they are an inch thick and 18 or 24 inches a side. Broken toes alert if you ever dropped one of those.

    I will have to visit Roslyn library, I hope they are displaying their work there? That sounds like such a great project.

  7. I don’t know if the work is on display or not. It might have been something they made and took home. I didn’t talk to my sister yet–just saw the photos.

  8. I can check the township or library website, too, they often mention these kinds of displays. It just sounded like the kind of thing they might have out in public for a while.

  9. Yes, even though I’ve spent decades mowing the grass, I have always thought it a waste of time (even though I like how it looks, too. Do you see ambivalence here?) but I think in the end, I have to say I always like the look of grass allowed to do what it wants much better. Freedom!

  10. Me too. If there was more than one inch of hair on my head I might have noticed earlier but I don’t even comb it so I never look at it to see… hmmm, I’ll Check the mirror tonight!

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