Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Between my fingers

The grass that grew in the crack of the sidewalks or found purchase in the potholes that stretched right to the old stone curbs never got a weekly trim like yard grass. Nothing tamed it but our fingers. When it seeded, little tan spikes jutting out like armor against the sharp green blade, we'd murder it, ripping it from its root for our own idle pleasure.

It wasn't much of a game, we little city kids on our little city plot in our little city world. We didn't have meadows to run through or creeks to explore, though those would come later when we were older, and could (or did) wander. We had blades of grass and we, timid city savages, we yanked it.

We'd hold it against the sun and say, "tree or bush?" There was no answer to the question, no guess to perform well or poorly. It was a tree, first, silhouetted against the sun. Then we'd pinch the stem and sweep upwards, pulling each seed away until they perched bunched against our fingertips, unanchored and perilous. We'd hold the harvest aloft again and declare the squatter silhouette: "bush."

It wasn't much of a game, but I hear the three-word question every time I spot a seeded blade of grass.

Tell me a childhood memory. I've been trying to remember some - not the meaningful ones, the minutiae - all day. Pin It