America: Land of the Free, Home of the Freshly Cut Grass

When people ask me what I miss most about home, I generally tell them about the three B’s that have been haunting my dreams both day and night for the last 16 months: bagels, burgers, and beer. However, once I got home, and I had ample exposure to those three beautiful B’s, a new, unexpexted fixation was brought forth to my conciousness: freshly cut green grass.

My fondess for grass and absolute lack of it in Nicaragua occurred to me one afternoon on Boston University’s turf field. The sun had come out, and the rubber pellots that make the turf such a wonder to run on also have another useful property: they absorb the heat of the day. As it went, I had just eaten a big meal, and Chip, her friend, and I went to the turf to toss a frisbee. Per usual, after about 20 minutes or so, I decided to lie down. The warmth of the turf grass engulfed me like a hug from a long lost friend. I spread my body out on it, sprawled really, and was getting quite cozy with it when Chip interrupted:

“Hey. You might not want to put your face on that. It’s dirty.”

Ah, Chip, if you only knew.

Later that day, as I walked to my sister’s apartment in Brookline, I noticed the grass that lined the side of the road. How was this perfectly even, green, and velvety miracle possible? At the same time, I heard a low humming in the distance, only slightly recognizable as a lawn mower from my previous life as a US resident. And oh, the smell. Such a glorious smell. It took every ounce of my persuasive power to prevent myself from bending over and rubbing my fingers along it. Once or twice I’m sure that I physically twitched while walking along that long road, a battle between indulging in the tactile pleasures of a freshly-mowed lawn and abiding to the ever-constraining social norms of not rubbing ones body on the ground.

I should interject with a brief explanation of the grass situation in Nicaragua. In brief, there is none. Absolutely no grass situation to be had. Instead of grass, people’s patios consist of packed dirt, and every few hours, the lady of the house will throw water down on it to prevent dust from getting swept up into the wind, into the tiny eyes of their kids, into hands, into the clothing as it hangs on the line to dry, and into the house. When grass does manage to sprout, it does so sparsely, and always seems to be accompanied by ample amounts of trash: candy wrappers, old soda bottles, and Ranchito bags. Needless to say, rubbing ones body on BU’s turf palace seems much more desirable than rolling around in dirt and trash.

I confessed my newly found love of grass to my sister Nadine. In turn, upon our arrival to Duke’s beautiful campus for our other sister’s graduation, she jokingly encouraged me to frolick freely on every quadrangle, every lawn, every area where existed lush, beautiful grass. I took her up on it. My dad watched from a distance, shaking his head.

grass angels.

In sum, the next time you see a nice bed of grass, I urge you all to enlist your inner child and take a moment to smell it, touch it, roll around in it, and genuinely enjoy its existence.  Try not to think about the unconventionality of a fully-grown adult, for example, taking a moment out of their commute home to pull the car over, roll around once, twice, or thrice, and then casually get back into the car to finish the drive home.  Because, as it turns out, when you don’t have it in your life, you miss it.  Unexpectedly so.

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