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This Is What it Sounds Like When Grass Cries
A few years ago I was living in an overwhelmed stage of life, and as I tend to do in times of struggle, I wrote a book about it. The following is an sample of that book, I hope you enjoy! And, don’t let the title fool you, this article is for women and men as well. It’s for anyone who loves the smell of fresh cut grass.
I’m not very good at suffering. In fact, if people got paid to suffer, I’d be broke, I do it so poorly. I’d be a sluggard just laying around watching my programs and eating bonbons.
But I once met a woman who felt no pain. She could literally cut herself and not feel it. I was giddy when she told me about her condition.
“How amazing!” I said. “I want that!” I want to live life without pain. Then I’d be a dream to be around—no more complaining about my constant sore muscles, cold feet, or flu-like fatigue. No more suffering with any “discomfort,” as I’ve been told to call it. My dream come true! Yeah, being me ain’t easy, as long as I can feel.
When my daughter was younger, we were watching an educational video on how plants communicate. Yay, science! And then the announcer told us that the smell of cut grass is the olfactory equivalent of a scream. Screech! Say what?
Yes, that sweet scent that reminds us that summer is here is really the silent cries of thousands of tiny blades of grass being decapitated for our property perfection. Kinda makes you reconsider the compassion of being a vegetarian, doesn’t it? I mean, people avoid meat so as not to have the shrieks of another living thing on their dietary conscience. I guess they didn’t know that some shrieks were silent.
When I informed Michael of this fact, he said, “Well, if everything suffers, we might as well start choosing our diet based on which cries are the most delicious.”
My daughter then shrieked in delight, “Outback!”
I thank God that he didn’t make it so that grass actually cries out in terror as the lawnmower growls to life, but gave us a sweet-scented return for our lawnicide. A smell so delicious that people have managed to bottle it and turn it into fragrances, candles, and cleaners. Ahh, the sweet smell of death. What a gift.
If it were different, and the cries of our lawns could actually be heard, I’m certain that the green would overtake us, as we would do all we could to avoid the blood-curdling bellows that resulted from barbering our blades and trimming our turf. But thank God the opposite is true—that grass offers a fragrant gift as it gives up its life for our sense of order.
All this science made me wish I could be more like my lawn, giving off my own gentle version of freshly cut grass every time I suffer.
I imagined how it would be to make people sigh, not in frustration and disgust, but in peace and contentment, as I filled the air with the sweet scent of my suffering. Wouldn’t that be something?!
But, alas, the opposite was true. When I grumbled, people’s faces tightened and they braced themselves for the barrage of complaint. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that my lawn was more weeds than grass, and the smell more oniony than sweet; this was obviously more analogous to my own response to being perfected by the Weedwacker of life. If I didn’t moan in agony, I could suffocate you with my noxious aroma. I got skills!
As I inhaled the toxic odor that was my failure at suffering, I began to regret the years of complaining conversations that I had gifted to others. I felt the loss of the words wasted on disgust and bitterness, rather than peace and joy, that had defined most of my close relationships, and I wanted a change.
All this time, I had thought that suffering was meant to produce fatigue, fear, and complaint. I literally felt, in the very center of my being, that to be happy in the middle of my suffering, no matter how small, would be to lie to everyone around me—because the truth was, I was not happy, and so I didn’t want to act like it. But maybe my DNA wasn’t meant to influence my emotions as much as I had let it, and maybe it wasn’t a lie to rejoice when all I wanted to do was complain.
Who knew that cut grass could send me onto the path of such great personal discovery and give me a picture of what rejoicing in suffering looked like? So now I pray that my (and your) response to suffering would be like a best-seller at Yankee Candle, herbaceous and odiferous.
And as for my daughter’s schoolwork, that gave us a nice, screaming salad.