I know that grass sometimes gets a bad rap in this day and age. The idea of the gated-community with its pristine lawns, perfectly green, manicured and weed free, seems to be a symbol of upper-class indulgence. Rather than focus on the sometimes crazy things that people do to show off their wealth I want to focus on what grass meant to me as kid growing up.
We always had a nice thick lawn. My father had the ability to make just about anything grow (in fact I could be doing this post on his garden). The kind of lawn you could run barefoot on and not worry about hitting a bare patch with a potentially deadly rock shard embedded in it. But it seemed like every kid on our street had a good lawn to play on. Whether we were playing running bases, tag, or any number of pretend games, you could be sure that the lawn padded us from the many spills we took in over exuberance to get somewhere. I still enjoy the look of grass stained jeans.
Of course big grassy areas were the best. On these fields you could play outfield in tee-ball (a position where you mostly stared at the grass because the ball never came out that far) or if you drew a big rectangle on a patch of grass you had a soccer field waiting to be played on. The smell of spring and fresh cut grass still beckons me come to a field with a soccer ball at my feet. I spent countless hours at these rectangular soccer fields all over NJ. Sweating, running, kicking, passing, shoving, sliding, diving.
I still love walking barefoot on grass or sprinting across a field after lacing up a pair of cleats. Grass is the plant that prevents suburbia from being washed away in the rain, the stuff that childhood memories are literally built upon, a space to play. And if you are lucky enough to stare up at the stars in the middle of a big field, the grass will provide a soft place for you to lay and get lost in the cosmos.