When The Grass Isn’t Actually Greener On The Other Side

The grass is always greener on the other side, they say.

But all I can say in response is, Maybe so, but my grass isn’t the least bit green. It’s yellow and brown and dead. Rotten even.

And so what should I do? Ignore the hills in the distance because the grass is always greener on the other side? Or should I hop the fence and wander over the hill and stand on that grass to know for sure?

I have done this many times over. And always the grass is indeed less green than I previously thought. Sometimes, though, there are a few good strands. A tree nearby that I wouldn’t mind sitting under for a while. But the grass isn’t green, and I wonder if I’m settling. I think to myself, as far as I know, this is the only life I’ve got, and I would like to stand on green grass at least once, so I carry on. Over the next fence. Down by the brook this time.

Still. The grass isn’t green.

And a little voice in the back of my mind wonders if perhaps no grass is green. That the green is a myth. That nothing and nowhere is actually green.

But then where does the idea come from? I ask myself, climbing over another fence towards the fields to the west. Did everyone just make it up? Why does it appear green from far away? Is it a cruel joke? Some awful jest? An endless chasing of green and then death? Surely that can’t be all.

Or maybe this whole time I’ve been running, I should have stayed put and nurtured the grass in my first field, and maybe by now it would be green.

But I think of my parents and my grandparents and how they have been doing that and how their grass is black and burnt. And all that time and effort amounted to grass that was no greener than when they started.

So I hop another fence. The sun is setting now. Sometimes the walk is nice. And I have heard some of them say that the green is found in the walk. And I contemplate this idea as I wander.

Some of them say the shade of grass you get has nothing to do with what field you stand in. That it is decided by something much bigger and grander and more mysterious than us. And if you do the things it likes, you will get more green, and if you don’t, you get more brown. But some of them also say that this entity sometimes likes to test us and will occasionally give us brown anyways to see how we react.

Some people say the point is to stop wanting the green. And maybe there’s something to that. I try this for a while. I tell everyone I have no interest in anything green. I point out everything that is wrong with it. I repeat myself enough to believe this for a while. But then a few years pass and the grass still looks green out there and I feel like I’m doing nothing with my life and when I get drunk, the deep truth bursts out of me and I cry because I don’t want to be sitting in the dirt my whole life.

And so I move on, choosing my direction carefully this time. I set my sights on the greenest and decide to let nothing stand in my way. I think this is THE field. I think I’ve figured it out this time.

And I find myself really disappointed because the grass looked truly, deeply, wonderfully green from way back there. And now that I’m up close, I see it’s dead. Man. I really thought that this time I was going somewhere good. It’s hard to leave this field, especially because it took so damn long to get here, and I’m tired, and I feel foolish for believing such a shade of green could be mine. It takes two years to let go and say goodbye to that disappointing patch of dirt.

More brown fields. Some yellow. I decide that maybe I’m asking for too much. I would be happy enough with just a small patch, just big enough to stand on. Surely a square foot of healthy grass is not too much to ask for, right?

Even small patches of green elude me.

I decide that it really is a cruel joke. That perhaps only some people are meant for green, and that others, like me, are meant for scorched earth. Or perhaps it is a timing thing? Maybe I was born during a long winter and that’s why no one seems to have anything green. Maybe all the grass is dead right now and will remain that way for another generation or so.

I’m tired of being wrong. But also I don’t want to be the sort of person who gives up.

I sigh and hop another fence.

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