14. Dec, 2014

Is the grass greener on the other side?

Wondering through our village recently I saw a sheep, determined to eat the grass on the other side of the hedge. It reminded me of the day I ran away.

     As a child, I lived with my crazy family on another planet. My father (a mad professor type of man and lover of poetry and a great musician) often carried out his wild experiments inside our home. Many times we almost lost our house, let alone our lives, when an experiment went horribly wrong. It was for this reason alone, I decided to run away. I was just six years old.

     With my life’s saving securely locked in my brown plastic piggy bank and tucked under my arm, I left! I didn’t want to leave my kittens behind but they wouldn’t stay in the bag I put them in so I said a tearful goodbye. At the end of the garden, I met my father who looked at me curiously.

     ‘Are you off on an adventure?’ he asked, eyeing up my small bag and my piggybank. Everything was an adventure to my father, even a trip to the local shop. I nodded, trying not to look at him. To my surprise, he opened the gate for me.

     ‘Don’t be away too long,’ he said calmly, ‘I will miss you!’

     I remember quite well, the strange feeling of looking back over my shoulder to see him waving to me. The most important person in the world was letting me go.

     ‘Just one thing,’ he shouted, ‘the grass isn’t always greener on the other side!’

     I stopped and thought about what he said. It didn’t make sense.

     ‘What grass?’ I shouted back.

     ‘Life,’ he replied.

     Grass! Life! Even at that young age I was curious about everything so I turned and walked back. I looked up at my father on the other side of the gate. ‘What grass?’ I said quietly.

     My father opened the gate and knelt down in front of me. ‘The same grass in our garden as the grass you are now standing on outside it.’

     I remember looking at the grass. The grass in our garden was almost gone, chewed up by our hens, whereas, the grass I was standing on was thick and green.

     ‘You see,’ he said, ‘it’s what you do with that grass that matters. If you let it go without tending to it, then it won’t flourish. The grass you are standing on is nurtured by the community and so it thrives.’ He closed the gate and together we stood and looked at our garden. It needed attention, even I could see that.

     ‘I guess we need to attend to a few things,’ said my father. ‘We shall start today and watch our own grass flourish and not the grass on the other side.’

     ‘And the house too?’ I asked.

     We were both smiling as we walked into the small wooden hut we called home. The smell of burning (another gone wrong experiment) still pervaded through the air but that didn’t matter anymore, what mattered was that my father took me home to where the grass was greener.

     I had forgotten all about that story until I saw the sheep today. Thank you sheep! Thank you dad, for all the wise things you taught me. They didn't make sense at the time but they certainly do now!