The Tall Grasses
By: Brad Cole

I had just walked out from the village following a swampy, rutty 4-wheeler trail through the dense grass and brush of the birch and fir forest. A barking dog and the occasional grinding noise of a chain saw were the only signs that a small settlement laid just beyond the distant trees.My gaze turned skyward and I saw a hawk with a white belly that has been circling Tuluksak for a week now, flopping about occasionally in the sky when diving for bugs. Life in the village can be dull and exhausting at times, I felt. That is why I go for my walks. Exercise and fresh air stimulates our minds into seeing things more clearly and calmly. Like a pool of water the truth is a spirit that we need to plunge ourselves into, as a form of baptism, before being able to more fully understand it.

The trail ended as I walked up the steep gravelly bank of the airport road and stood there looking south. My eyes spotted a cluster of yellow straw-grass that followed a trail that was about a mile long, leading out from the road to a long but narrow pond lying in the middle of an open meadow.Remembering that I wore mud boots for this soggy ground .I waded into this sea of grass. The thin, gold colored straw wrapped around the ankle of each boot as I stepped through it. I could see that a multitude of plants inhabited the meadow floor. On closer inspection it looked as though the different variety of plants and organisms had worked out a system of community that maintained a respectful distance from each other. By living off the wind and rain they had gained a very graceful, wholesome existence of their own. These grasses of the meadow have formed a peaceful nation that will travel lightly through the Ages, I thought.

Finally, I did reach the weedy waters of the pond. I could feel the warmth of the afternoon sun on my face. The grass in the quiet meadow curled devotedly under the light wind and I could see three distant beaver houses inhabiting the waters.The wind curled across the rippling blue water and I felt wrapped in its cool flowing air. It was like being inside a stream of fresh water pouring through the late afternoon sky. I could hear the rustling of the tall grasses, whispering and praising the endlessness of the meadow’s passing breezes. I stopped, relaxed and allowed myself to bathe in the glowing charm of the moment. It felt as though the grass was whispering to the wind, “I feel so free with you, I feel so free with you!”. But I wondered what this nation of grass will say once the cold winter winds begin blowing across a hardened land.

Looking up I again saw the hawk flying in looping circles high above the meadow, slowly drifting off and disappearing into the distant sky. Turning around to begin walking back home, I felt the evening gently descending upon the village. At this time my soul becomes weary and feeling the need for sleep it will wander senselessly away into the tall, dream-swept grasses of the night. It is there it will seek the freedom of the wind.