Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts on snake grass . . .

Do they call it snake grass--those hollow, pull-apart reeds that you can section off, pinch the more rigid ends free and then flatten the softer ends to whistle through? The grasses used to grow along the ditch banks, and we would make whistles of different sizes and pitches, blowing them until they wore out or we did.

Now they grow in a small clump in my aunt's front yard, where she planted them. I picked a stem yesterday and made a sharp sounding whistle, which I blew until I reached the front door, only then reluctantly discarding my treasure to the earth.

Today, I found the rest of the grass stem--seven sections long of decreasing lengths and widths up to the minuscule tip. I separated off one of the sections, tore the thick end free, and compressed the other end in preparation for whistling. But the barrel collapsed into a flat green thing, having lost too much water to hold its walls rigid and make the sound I so wanted to hear.


Betty Edit said...

Someday someday someday I'll learn how to play those. You tried to teach me once.

Nothing gold can stay.

elegyrl said...

I'm with Betty... I've never managed to make a whistle from a blade of grass :(

whirligigdaisy said...

I don't think I can make them whistle, either, but I loved to pull them apart as a kid. And they were such a rare commodity, only growing in odd places where I usually wasn't allowed to venture on my own.

literaqueen said...

I can't picture snake grass. I can whistle through a flat grass blade, though. My dad taught me to stretch it between my thumbs like a clarinet reed and it would vibrate when I blew on it.

By the way, Olive, watch your e-mail. There have been some summer-altering events happening recently.

Denece said...

Tore it free and it collapsed and couldn't make the sound I wanted to hear.

I hate that.
Those days.