Father’s Day and the merits of grass

Switch your memory bank on and rewind to this time last year when there was a heatwave in the UK. Grass in back gardens was burnt back to bare earth and struggles, even now, to recover. The grass tennis courts of London, however, will no doubt be pristine for this week’s Queen’s Club tournament when the victors and victims of the red clay court season will exchange orange dust for green stains on their shorts and shirts.

It’s Father’s Day today, the first for me without my own dear dad who died in October last year. He was a great aficionado of grass court tennis. He taught me tennis on grass courts and took me to see the experts at Wimbledon. A friend, also a great tennis fan, once – a long time ago – pinched a finger-and-thumbful of grass from the Centre Court of Wimbledon. He kept the grass for decades and, when he showed it to me, it was a handful of somewhat unimpressive brown dust, but it meant the world to him!

Grass covers about a quarter of Earth’s land mass. Do we take it for granted? Perhaps Emily Dickinson’s words help us appreciate its qualities:

The Grass so little has to do,
A Sphere of simple Green,
With only Butterflies to brood
And Bees to entertain,
And stir all day to pretty Tunes
The Breezes fetch along,
And hold the Sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything.

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