Letter for the grass (2)

25.04.2020 / Worthing UK


I always used to worry about dressing right for the weather, consistently checking the weather app on my phone, looking at the ‘real feel temperature’, the wind, the chance of rain, and yet still feeling equally cheated and frustrated every time I left the house and wasn’t exactly the perfect temperature. Now, each day I go outside for my walk I am more clueless than ever as to what to wear to suit the ~outside~ weather, and yet each day it seems to matter less and less. If I am not quite the right temperature, it doesn’t really matter (does it?). I’m not dressing for the weather, I dress for myself, for the people who may emerge from their front doors, for the fellow dog walkers.


My brother came home over a week ago, bringing with him his Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing. I made an account on the game, which I have very easily integrated into my daily routine (in fact, I won’t lie, it’s usually how I begin my day). Yesterday I dressed my little character in wintery outfits that definitely did not match the weather, neither here nor in the game - and it doesn’t matter. I can wonder around in pyjamas and a beret for all I care - because I’m literally the only person who does care, the omnipotent creator running my little person about the island. The game has been long anticipated, and its release coincided with Covid-19. For many it is something relaxing & therapeutic - the game requires you to play a little bit each day, and the tasks & goals are very low key, the player choosing their own pace to play. In a way - it’s this virtual realm that’s detached enough from the overwhelming events, that the whole idyllic island is enough to be escapism, while its correspondence with real time ties it enough to day to day life that it can become part of our routines, repetitive and unexciting enough to be grounded to our quarantine lives.

The grass in Animal Crossing never grows enough to need to be cut, it stays a consistent shade of green, occasionally sprouting weeds to be picked. It’s easy maintenance. Actually the ‘grass’ is pretty flat. It never wears away, it never becomes muddied, or so wet you can feel the squelch of water beneath your feet. It’s reliable and unnoticeable.


Occasionally when the weather is nice and sunny here, I sit outside in my garden to read a book and bask in the warmth of the sun, to feel it on my skin (and hopefully get my summer freckles). Unfortunately, the previous owner of this house put down fake grass. Fake - it’s an imitation of the real thing. It’s not like the grass in AC, so apparently fake that it is simply a reference to real life (like most of the game). No, the “lawn” in the back garden is an irritatingly consistent green and length. No daises or dandelions or weeds grow amongst it. The blossom from the tree falls on it like a carpet, waiting to be swept away. I brush my feet against it, wanting to sink my toes in, wishing to feel the blades of the grass tickling the bottoms of my feet, squashed in between my toes. I want to mindlessly grab chunks of grass to rip off, I guess my way of DIY trimming it.

No time to sink my toes into any grass at the park, no particular desire to actually do so. I think it should be trimmed soon, or at least I want it to be. I’m longing to see a distinction between the freshly cut grass and the wilderness of the perimeter. It’s my real life escape from the house, to watch *real* grass grow, so slowly, slowly, slowly.


Jenny Brown



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