Grassy Prairie

grass.jpgI have a fetish for grassy prairie, the kind that rolls in waves in the summer wind. I was a kid walking around in those waves and if I get back to South Dakota I try to find that long-grass place and walk for miles in it and I can float for hours in the crests and troughs of grasses going off to the shimmering horizon. 

Oh "fetish" is the wrong word because this comes from pre-sexual time, when I was ten and eleven. I would escape from my family and walk forever in those waves until it was dark. It was how nature carried me off, the world closest to the edge of the yard, where nature waited for me, waving and dancing.

If I knew I was dying I would want to go back there to the long grasses. When I go to pray, which is sometimes difficult being so without any god, I think of that time in my life, because the natural world was overwhelming the god that my family insisted was all-powerful and all-knowing. Creation was overwhelming the Creator and it came in the form of undulating prairie grasses. 

So I've shared this with people openly of course, since I'm a public confessor, but it always feels like a secret, too. I pray in the park near our home and there isn't prairie there. But when I pray I close my eyes and I see the sky and the grasses blowing in the sunny wind and then New York changes into South Dakota swirling its grasses around my prayer.