Journey home is always a well anticipated event for me. After 7 years I’m still experiencing a heartbreaking nostalgia about my home town. The saying might go as grass is always greener on the other side but there is a certain twist to this proverbial grass. Even when I was boarding a bus, looking at my crying mother, I was still convinced life elsewhere is much better. I was wrong.
No shade of green stands close to the grass that you walked on barefoot for the very first time.
When I was a child, I remember watching how ground surface is changing through the seasons. I was growing in the remote part of the town, verging on the monotonous rows of tall blocks of flats and extensive fields stretching all the way across the southern part of the city. I used to think civilization ends there.
These two spaces were very contrasting but they had something in common – if you look at them for a long time, they begin to resemble a texture. Field’s swaying tall grass creating pale green and yellow wave texture . While countless rows of red bricks and white window frames resembled giant beehive for people . They stretch vertical so the best way to see it was to find a very tall block building and look at static field of concrete from the roof.
We used to have very pronounced seasons so the grass wasn’t always green anyway. Summers were great – grass was all green and voluptuous, growing everywhere, making it’s way even through the pavement. You can’t tame nature, life will always find the way.
Every summer school was making us pluck the grass growing between tiles, it counted towards our community hours. This used to be the week of hell until school’s authorities began using some acidic salt solution that was killing grass within few days making it easier to pull and stopping it from growing. I thought it was a barbaric practice back then, little did I know, within next twenty years planet poisoning will become a norm.
Autumn always approached abruptly, assaulting dry exhausted ground with heavy rainfalls and frosts as early as mid October. This used to be the murkiest time of the year.
Winters used to be cold and snowy.
I remember spending most of my free time outside sledge riding down a man made hill ( probably built on a pile of rubbish) between houses. I remember the only worry I had was how no to roll into a dog shit under the fluffy snow cover. There was no such thing as picking up after dogs so winter was like a shit mine field. It was another level of yellow snow. Utterly disgusting.
And then there was spring. Gradually melting snow was uncovering every bit of dead grass resting underneath it (along with other stuff that was buried under a thick layer of snow and ice). It was mostly mud but within first few weeks of March you start seeing little gems making their way through the thawing ground. Even in those places where we killed grass with poison last year.
As I was growing older, poisoning grass seemed like a very convenient idea since I didn’t have to spend hours crawling on my knees back and forth trying to dig out that dandelion root that was the size of my fist by the time it’s early May. Inevitable pressure of adolescence was imposing upon me. Soon we moved to a more urbanized part of the town. Years later I moved countries.
I still haven’t found that place where grass is green enough for me, perhaps such place only exists in my head, perhaps it’s not even a place. Is it a state of mind more than any physical reality?
Living abroad creates a sense of displacement that develops over time. It’s the same weird gut feeling when you look at old photographs of the countryside where you’ve spent your summers. All of a sudden you start remembering every little detail of your past spent in that particular bubble and your stomach flips just at the thought that even though this place hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s lost forever, savored in the memory of a child.
It’s not escapism, it’s realizing you had the happiest childhood. Everything else is what you make of it. You can have a grass as green as you want it to be anywhere in the world.
Grass isn’t greener on the other side or on your side. Grass will never be as green as when you really looked at it for the first time.