stirred by an unseen
hand, grasses and sky combine
a season’s turning
On a hot and sultry midsummer’s mid-afternoon, marsh life slows. No bird feeds or calls; alligators abandon their banks, sinking into the silty waters. Only an occasional dragonfly passes by while other creatures remain hidden, waiting within the river of grass for the lowering of the sun.
Accustomed to seeking out autumn color in trees, vines, and shrubs, it’s easy to forget that grasses, too, can contribute to the pleasures of autumn and early winter.
One of my favorites, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is named for the greenish-blue color its stems show off in summer. As the year progresses, blue transforms to various shades of rusty red, and prairies begin to glow with a special vibrancy beneath the rising or setting sun.
Whether found in ditches or pristine preserves, the grass is beautiful, holding its color throughout the winter for the pleasure of humans, and providing cover and seed for small mammals and birds.