• sweet balm •

• sweet balm •
I like to walk the dogs in the cool of the day. It’s too hot for them, otherwise. I always walk them without wearing shoes: me, not them, that is, needless to say. That way, if the sidewalk is way too hot, which it sometimes can be, I should be the first to know, thankfully. (And sometimes, whew! it is waay too hot, waay too hot, baby. I even do a little dance, to the strains of, “Ow! Ow! Ow!”, dancing from foot to foot. I learned that dance doing Summer track in South Texas: the ‘hotfoot dance’. Come to think of it, why did we never wear shoes? Hm. Never thought of that…)
Oh, it’s that – and the grass, I guess. Oh, okay, there’s little point in hiding the fact: I am a grass aficionado. For ‘the grasses’, I have, as the Spanish would say,”aficion”, like mucho, mucho, like a young Ernest Hemingway, with his bulls, only for me, it’s grass, you might say. Perhaps, not exactly the same, but very nearly, clearly. I actually love the stuff, I’m not ashamed to admit it. At times, I feel, I can actually hear the grass growing. At times, it’s almost as if I were a plant, myself, so cool, in a sunny meadow kinda way, all the good parts of me, reaching for that bright bit in the sky, so optimistic, so full of the songs of solar reverence, like little optimists, all giving their all, in unison, kind of a “cree-cree-cacauphany”. Heady stuff, I must say, full of tinsel and reminiscence, to the ‘nth degree. It sounds, to me like a billion little Bing Crosby’s crooning, “I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas”. What can I say, I have an affinity for playing footsies with filaments of chlorophyll. I just adore cooling my toots in these New England turfs, it’s just so splendid, the stuff. If I could, I’d do it all day.
Not like Texas, where I spent my formative years – picking ‘sticker-burrs’ from my feet, by the thousands. In fact, I picked so many from my heels and toes that I eventually accumulated no less than two years of just standing on one foot. To pick them out, the sticker-burrs, which came in rows, in case you were wondering. To my fellow Texan confederates, I knew you weren’t – wondering, that is. We all know that feeling, all too well: raped, from below. Standing on one foot is a necessary skill, down that way. That is, if you want to live to see another day.
For some, we were famous for it, in fact. I spent so much time standing on one foot, kids used to call me “the flamingo”, and, even though I was a little “guerito”, (that is, a light-skinned, “white boy”) believe me, pink had nothing to do with it.
And, no wonder, now I think of it, that every Easter film clip from my childhood has us kids bawling our eyes out, in open fields – of sticker-burrs, with our ubiquitous empty Easter baskets: we grew up in hell: aka,Texas – the uncontested official sticker-burr badlands, the Tyrannosaurus Rex of tootsie-torture territory.
So, it’s no wonder, I should think, that this lovely green, soft, New England grass is as a sweet, sweet balm to me, it’s just so clean, and sticker-burr free. Oh, and as for going for walks, thank goodness for the dogs, otherwise, when I lay down and roll around in the stuff, making little gleeful chuffing noises, I might get more looks than I do. Whee!!
~ Tim Burchfield



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