Tag Archives: Oat

Grass: a side of oats with music

Back-lighted side-oats gramma grass in the far field (October 2011).

With recent rains, grasses re-sprout. Side-oats gramma grass yields its oats along the stem and when the sun back-lights the plant the seeds appear as golden beads hanging about a string. I see several broad patches of gramma in my far field. The gramma seems to congregate as a family, moving over the years a few yards to the northwest as if on slow journey to Salt Creek, a tenth-of-a-mile away.  I hear wind sough* through grass as it does through mesquite and oak.

When I shred brush in the far field, I cannot — though I thought I would — mow the gramma.  Gramma is now family, a natural plant that has created an art space in the far field, a sentient being that propagates and rears its young in front of me.  I see Star, my paint gelding, browse through the family, munching on a few stalks and oats, but not many stalks, for the far field is lush and verdant and full of life.

In the 1950s, as a high school student in agricultural classes, we identified gramma, johnson and bluestem grasses, among many others.  Above all, I remembered the gramma and bluestem, dreaming that someday I would have a field of these species that I could see and touch.  At the time I took the high school classes from Mr. Bell who could hold a scorpion by the tail, I thought I would use grasses entirely for grazing purposes.  That was then.  I now want to see the grasses first, and then allow a brief grazing of cattle and horse upon the gramma that blows in the wind and provides reeds for wind-music that I hear and golden beads that droop and sway with southern winds out of Mexico.

Odd it is, I think, that I have golden-beaded grass with a side of oats that sings.

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Notes, corrections and additions:

*sough (suf, sou), Middle English is swough, Anglo-Saxon is swogan meaning to sound.  Definition is a soft, low, murmuring, sighing or rustling sound.  I can’t remember where I picked up this word way-back-when, but lately my reading of Patrick Leigh Fermor brought it up again.  The definition herein comes from my first collegiate college dictionary, c. 1960.  I still have the dictionary and it is taped up with duct tape about the binding.  I must do a post on my old books someday.

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Filed under Plants and Shrubs, Recollections 1942-1966