Yesterday I flew from the land of frozen grass to the land of the desert, where grass comes at a water price, a price becoming higher and higher each year. The type of grass popular in Colorado these days comes at a high price as well.
But I want you to think of “grass” and “high” in a different way. When the hardy pioneers emerged from the forests of the east into the middle part of the US, they were greeted by a sea of grass, but not the grass of our manicured lawns or even the grass of the unkempt lawns of abandoned homes.
If you’ve read the Little House books, you’ll remember that Ma and Pa worried about the girls getting lost on a prairie without trees. How can this be? As you read Joel Salatin’s words, try to imagine grass of this type as far as the eye, if it were up high enough, could see. It’s an awesome image, awesome in the true sense of the word.
For example, when I say “grass,” most people associate that word, in its first sense, with lawns. And yet that is a paltry, uninformed notion of grass. Artificially planted and maintained two-inch turf grass is a far cry from the grass I’m talking about. I’m talking about native prairies, and Little House on the Prairie, where Ma and Pa Ingalls feared Laura would become lost if she went out of the house. The University of Nebraska still maintains an acre or two of this grass in Lincoln. It’s twelve feet tall with stems more than half an inch thick. The first Europeans into Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley wrote letter home describing grasses that could be tied in a knot above the horse’s saddle.
“Folks, This Ain’t Normal”, Joel Salatin
Can you wrap your mind around grass so high an entire NBA team could be unobserved in it? To me, it’s a mind-boggling thought. I hope some day to get to Lincoln to see this grass. (Of course as a former Nebraska resident, I’d love to see a Cornhuskers football game, too, but seeing the grass is much more likely!)
By the way, if you’ve never read anything by Joel Salatin, you’ve missed out on an incredible experience. Look for his books and read one right away! Joel and his family operate Polyface Farms in Virginia:
Polyface, Inc. is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.
(From their website)
For now, I leave you with the mind picture of mile upon mile of grass waving above miles and miles of bison herds. What a vision!
I’ll be offline most of the time for the next ten days. Thanks for understanding if I don’t get to your blog quite as often. Just doing posts and responding to comments will take most of my scanty online time.