October 14, 2022 | OPINION | By Lorelei Smillie
Every day, I hear someone complaining about the massive expanse of lawns at Colorado College. It is a common concern that they’re an environmentally harmful because they need so much water. If green grass is so bad for the planet – why do we have so much of it on campus?
I have some news: your lawn doesn’t have to destroy its own earth. There are many native grasses to Colorado which could potentially be used in our landscaping. If you refuse to accept that, have fun lying down on your sustainable spiky field of cacti.
For example, Buffalo Grass is native to the state, and doesn’t need any additional water so long as it sufficiently rains or snows. Blue Grama, another grass from Colorado, grows well during the warmer months and turns yellow during the winter. Those are the two most comfortable grasses, but there are many other tall and dry grasses which can also be found in the west. Those are not as nice to make a bed out of but they are still beautiful.
Native grasses don’t need as much mowing or fertilization, which is perfect for a low-maintenance grass lover. These options are beautiful plants which are perfect for those wanting an emerald expanse to romp in without contributing to our climate crisis. The sustainable option doesn’t need to be a slab of concrete or a pile of rocks– the plants nearby can guide us.
It is important to be careful, since many “native” labeled seed packets are not, in fact, plants from Colorado. Be wary of the grass seed company you find — sometimes people are held captive by another type of green. Not everyone has grass’ best interest in mind.
The power of grass is beautiful and infinite. No other place is such an open, inviting, gathering space where any combination or shape of people can gather. It encourages a beautifully free dialogue with no expectations.
Circles are my favorite shape and the vastness allows people to lie in any direction, stretching bodies and hands across the ground. Everyone is on the same playing field, with equal say and opportunity. It can be a physical manifestation of a real kind of community.
I wish I could have every class outside. Listening to a lecture is always improved when you can play with the plants, running your fingers through the grass below you, and finding the odd dandelion or clover in the tangle of green.
There is no better way to spend an exhausted Friday afternoon than to lie dozily in the sun, gathering energy from the earth as you press your cheek into the scratchy spikes. Underneath a tree is the coziest, unless you want to leave the shade and have the sunlight beat down into your hair. It’s the perfect way to unwind and find contemplative peace.
It’s almost the middle of October, which means winter is quickly approaching in Colorado. There isn’t much time left before a layer of frost turns the grass yellow and strips the ground of warmth. Savor these last moments in the sun before the gorgeous green is stripped of its color.