Eastman Johnson, "The Girl I Left Behind Me," ca. 1872
My grandma taught me how to size and pluck a blade of grass, press my thumbs together then pull it tight in the gap, and blow. We’d whistle up the wind, whistle a summer storm, whistle the daddy long- legs that pulsed in the outhouse corners to doze and then sleep. A green song, so fine and tender, from a green part of life. I haven’t played those pipes much lately— the grass here’s too tough, coarse enough to endure drought and flood, not as good for a tune. But maybe, where I’m heading, those old new songs will come out to play. Spring green, pushing up towards a pearly sky; seed and rhizome, bud and blade, girl and grandma, making a grass whistle sing.