Scene from a Summer Lawn

A few years ago, I posted an essay my older daughter had written. It’s one of the most-read pieces on this blog. (Someone comes several times a day to read it.) It’s one of my favorite things she’s written in school. While her academic writing is also good, it’s the creative and descriptive writing my girls do that reminds me of what excellent writers they really are.

This year, my younger daughter was assigned the same kind of descriptive essay, but she went the opposite route and wrote about a freshly-mowed lawn. I hope you enjoy it!

Summer’s abundance of lazy Saturdays served as inspiration for me to leave the walls of my room and sit outside on the freshly mowed grass. Though this is one of my favorite summer pastimes, this particular afternoon was special; it was my first free weekend to lounge on the lawn. I lay back against a tree trunk and took the opportunity to meditate on the scene surrounding me. In just a few seconds on this tranquil summer day, my senses took over my thoughts, filling my head with the various sights, sounds, and feelings around me.

As my body settled into a relaxed position, I cast my gaze about the ward and soaked in the familiarly serene sights. The grass was a vibrant emerald forest sized for the tiniest of insects to explore, with sprouts of minute golden flowers just below the tree line that the lawn mower had missed. Butterflies flitted across the ground, dancing as ballerinas around each other. Looking up the tree under which I sat, I admired the way the sunshine tumbled carelessly through the leaves and cast shadows on the cracked tree on which I rested. Infinitesimal gnats darted in and out of the shade, morphing from insects in the shade, to brilliant specks of golden glitter in the harshness of sunlight. The rays illuminated, too, the stray grass clippings floating through the air and laying atop the makeshift forest of grass. Gratitude overwhelmed me – gratitude for all the beauty on which I had laid my eyes.

With a peaceful smile, I let my eyes close and my ears open to the many sounds of my surroundings. The first sound I noticed was the cheery singing of the various birds – in trees, flying by – calling out to one another. I wondered absently what they were saying. Then, quieter than the birds, I heard the clinking of the collar around my dog’s neck as he trotted dutifully around the yard. Wind floated through the trees with soft whispers of tidings from where they had traveled. Leaves rustled happily together in reply. An insect buzzed next to my ear, startling me briefly before hurrying along its way. Finally, my attention focused so near to me already, I heard my own breath coming in through my nostrils, and whistling out between my teeth. What wonderful things I acknowledged when I listened to my surroundings.

After seeing and hearing these comfortingly familiar things, I became aware of my own body and what feelings acted on it. Sharp blades of grass cut into my legs, though they produced more of an uncomfortable itch than anything. My shoulder blades were pressed into the rough bark of the tree behind me. Cool breezes blew gently on my face, causing my hair to bounce off my shoulders, and my shirt to ripple away from my skin. My feet stretched past the shade of my tree, and glowed with a warmth from the sun. As I took this in, I felt my dog’s cold, wet nose nuzzle my cheek. His coarse fur pushed against my arm, and made a smile spread over my face. Soft, coarse, gentle, painful; my body was struck with various feelings when I turned my attention to my sense of touch.

Sights, sounds, and feelings flooded my senses in just the few seconds I took on this peaceful afternoon to focus on the things around me. I saw light and shade, and greenery and living creatures occupying the lawn. I heard the songs of birds and the stories of winds. I felt the warmth of sunlight and of my dog’s inhuman affection towards me. My final, untraditional sense of happiness took each individual beauty I had experienced and stored them in my heart, turning them into gratitude.

Text and photo ©2017 Christine Johnson

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