I inhaled the smell of freshly-cut grass as John entered the house this afternoon. His jeans bore shards of his work, and I watched a few green globs drop as he walked toward the refrigerator.
“All done.” John grabbed his Coke from the fridge door and took a triumphant swig.
“You’re a murderer.” My eyes were ping-pong ball big and my mouth was set in a grimace of horror.
He set down his soda and swaggered toward the sink.
John is accustomed to my doomsday demeanor. My strategy is to imagine the worst and smile in relief when I’m wrong. But this pronouncement made John a bit concerned about my waning cognitive functioning.
I wish I hadn’t read the article. But since I did, I had to tell John. It’s what I do. Share complicated, obtuse tidbits of knowledge he doesn’t care about and won’t remember. It’s my love language, I think.
People are also reading…
I led him to the kitchen table, pulled out his chair, and waited for him to sit. His face bore a confused/tolerant look I’d learned to love.
What I was about to say would change his moral compass forever.
“Can’t you smell it? You killed the grass!”
“I just read that grass screams when it is cut! Since we humans can’t hear it, scientists say the smell the blades emit is their way to communicate their agony!”
On any typical summer day, men and women all over the country pad across their lawns, head to the shed for the instruments of torture, and start up machines that behead billions of blades of living sprouts.
I wondered if we could have heard the massacre all along, if not for the whir of the mower engine. Even the snick of the old-fashioned mowers could have disguised the tiny shrieks of single blades.
My nose twitched at the odor of death I’ve grown to love over a lifetime. Freshly-mown grass is one of the memory smells of summer. Now, will it always remind me of murder?
If this information is true, and I’ll bet it is (I read it on the internet?), I imagine what other sounds are coming from my yard:
Dandelion flowers probably snicker as they shoot upward to congregate the lawn.
Maple seed helicopters yell “WHEE!” on their whirly way toward my gutters.
Do the zinnias I planted emit a tiny “POP” when their tiny, two-leaved starts burst from the garden soil?
And when I cut them to give away to friends, do they giggle in delight? I like to think so.
I wonder if tomatoes yell, “TA-DA!” when we twist them from their pungent stems. They must be proud of themselves, knowing how long we’ve waited.
When the summer wind tosses the branches of trees and shrubs in shivering motion, do they moan — or maybe, sing a staccato chorus of wisdom with their branch-mates?
The cacophony of noises I can’t hear but now imagine is almost deafening. And while some of the sounds may be pleasant, knowing that the grass is screaming each time John cuts it makes me shudder.
John just stared at me, and swiped a hand against the carnage on his pants.
“What would you have me do?” he asked. “I am not going to stop mowing.”
“Okay. I just wanted you to know you’re killing it out there,” I said, with a pat to his sweaty shoulder.
I smiled and turned away, not wanting to see his long-suffering shrug.
Robin Garrison Leach is a freelance writer and columnist from Quincy, Illinois.”Robin Writes” is published in numerous Missouri and Illinois newspapers. Contact her at email@example.com