Pastures As Art

There is something mesmerizing about open pastures, perhaps their malleability as an artistic medium.

At any time of year, unmown pastures are rough, green canvases painted with oils variously applied; thickened knots of lush grass growing in hollows or well fertilized areas appear to have been rendered by palette knife, while broad strokes of  a wide brush seem to have been used to define all else.  In spring, their green monopoly is relieved by a multi-hued patchwork of dandelions, clover, tansy, yarrow, wild flowers, and waving sprigs of tall, feathered grass indiscriminately added by  a tiny pointed brush; the rest of the year, they are dominated by single color schemes – tan in summer, emerald in fall, sage in winter.

Newly mown, pastures morph into imperfect, canvas-backed tapestries woven from the lines and circles remaining from the tractor operator’s attempt to  impose order and routine on an uneven landscape.  Here and there slubs appear in the weaving where the grass was too thick to be wholly tamed by blunt mechanical means or where it grew in unguessed hollows; they serve as God’s promise that the now-hidden oil painting will be resurrected as soon as the tapestry falls into inevitable disrepair.

In early morning, pastures are mist-drenched watercolors rendered on archival paper, with shadows painted by the rising sun as perspective on the day at hand; at twilight they become fantasy-themed movies as bordering trees and shrubs combine with their own dips and swells to cast the shadowy yarns that God will use to knit the blessings of night.

All grasslands are living, nearly sentient beings.  They give up their freedom so that we might derive pleasure, in exchange for the symbiotic near-ubiquity they enjoy when in our company.  The prairies are their wild herds, and well-tended pastures their barely domesticated cousins – cousins always ready to reassert their wild-waving freedom should we fail to nurture their artistic nature.

About Gavin Stevens

Humptulips County is the wholly fictional on-line residence of Stephen Ellis, a would-be writer, an avid fan of William Faulkner and his Yoknapatawpha County, and a retired lawyer.
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