Green, Green Grass
This week marked the spring greening of our yard as our fescue lawn began to take on a healthier appearance and started its warm-weather growth spurt. My husband fired up the mower and cut perfectly straight lines into the grass as I worked in a nearby flowerbed. Five minutes later, I closed my eyes and enjoyed the scent wafting through the air — the perfume of the freshly cut grass. In my head, I could hear Charley Pride singing.
Yes, they’ll all come to meet me, Arms reaching, smiling sweetly, It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.
I’ve always loved that song, written by Curly Putman in the early sixties. Several other country music icons covered the song including Porter Wagoner in 1965, but our family had an 8-track tape in our Oldsmobile with Charley Pride singing the words, and so it’s his rendition I hear in my head from time to time. The song chronicles a man in prison dreaming about the joys of his hometown and being surrounded by loved ones. I think we can all relate to the longing of going home and seeing family and friends, but that’s not why I love that song so much. I simply love the words, “green, green grass of home.”
It’s not just that green is my favorite color — it is, by the way. It’s something more than that.
I’m about to confess something to the world here — I love to lie down in freshly mowed, green grass. I like to lie there like a dog on a sunny day. I love to run my fingertips through the blades, and I love to smell its earthy aroma up close and personal. Not only that, I’ve always loved to lie on a bed of soft grass, inhale, and look at the blue sky and clouds above me. It’s something that has always brought me joy and peace, since I was a little girl. I guess I’ve always been a hippie at heart.
As an adult, the smell of freshly cut grass brings back memories of long summer days, sitting on the patio in rickety lawn chairs made of aluminum tubing and synthetic webbing, and lazy afternoons standing barefoot in my family’s backyard with a slice of watermelon in my hands. The scent is both fresh and comforting, and it’s like a time machine — instantly taking me back to the carefree days of my childhood.
I’ve read that there is a simple scientific reason why some of us crave the smell of cut grass. Geosmin is a chemical compound produced by a type of bacteria called actinomycetes, which are present in soil and thrive in moist conditions. When grass is mowed, the blades release this compound into the air, creating that lovely, distinctive earthy smell that reminds us of nature and connects us to the world around us.
And I’m not alone. Others find splendor in the grass, too. The scent has inspired hundreds of perfumes and fragrances. And it is so beloved by so many that the natural aroma of cut grass has been studied. Research has found that exposure to green spaces can have a positive impact on our mental health, and the smell of freshly cut grass is a big part of that. Studies have found that the aroma is associated with feelings of relaxation and tranquility, and it has been shown to reduce stress levels and improve mood. So next time you are feeling a little blue, do like I do, and go lie in the grass for five minutes.
This time of year, that grassy fragrance reminds me of growth and renewal. We cut it almost every week, and we know that it will grow back stronger and healthier than ever. It’s a reminder that things must be tended, taken care of, and appreciated.
So next time you catch a whiff of the appealing scent of cut grass, take a moment to savor it, and remember Charley Pride’s smooth, buttery voice singing, “It’s good to touch the green, green grass of home.”