Low Ceilings – Grass is Greener

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Music, Song of the Day

He is the god and yet his eye rests with concern on the human race, because the tender shoot of the individual can be crushed as quickly as that of a blade of grass. — Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition

The corn, the grass, the fragrance of the night, together with the stars and the moon — all of us are doing our best. We are doing everything we can to keep you alive. Thich Nhat Hanh, Structure of Suchness

My father wasn’t a grass grower. He was more into the cutting of it, a task he accomplished wearing a white t-shirt stained with the green paint of a long-uncompleted project, khaki shorts, black dress socks, and accompanying black wingtips. A red baseball cap was optional.

We learn to work in the yard
Return with scars on our arms
Glowing when daylight is gone
Knowing your father looks on

Fast-forward (cough cough) decades. Viewing our back lawn each day from the dispassionate distance of the kitchen window, I watch the grass become greener. But closer examination reveals that the greenest growth is Virginia Buttonweed, an insidious invader whose containment is possible only through the destruction of every other broadleaved creature inhabiting the space between the fences.

They say the grass is always greener when
You gain a flower, lose a friend
You till the soil, save the ground,
you grow the tree, you cut it down

The development of both grass and weed is stimulated by granules containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Someday, the greenery may be fertilized by the ashes of a beloved pet. So far, though, the only contributing casualty has been my lower back.

Garden the beds in the sun
Pardon the sadness that comes
Heat’s mild, enjoy while it lasts
Run wild with dogs of the past

This spring has been spent in recovery from the Big Freeze of February. For the previous two years I had complained that our warm Houston winters had short-circuited the seasonal cycles of the plants and trees. Now, I have the opportunity to participate in the Great Circle of Life, as I transfer dead plants to the compost pile, where they will become the mulch that someday nourishes their nursery-bred replacements.

They’re out here, buried in the yard
You can picture them, it’s not too hard
You till the soil, save the ground,
you grow the tree, you cut it down

Low Ceilings is Ben Mueller of Windsor, Connecticut. ‘Grass is Greener’ is about personal loss and memories of the past, Ben tells us. But it tries to stay hopeful about the future. I love the track’s upbeat folky-poppiness, combined with the low-key sincerity of the vocal. I hear a touch of one of my all-time favorite songs, ‘And You and I’ by Yes.

Replace my voice with yours
I am not speaking anymore

‘Grass is Greener’ appears on the new Low Ceilings album, Passenger Side. It’s a wonderful collection, eleven strong tracks described as written over the past year and a half in, around, and about life in a New England suburb. Today’s track is our third song of the day from Low Ceilings; we have previously featured ‘Just Exactly,’ from the album Learn to Sew, and ‘Internet Forever,’ also from Passenger Side.

The music of Low Ceilings is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, and Apple Music. Be sure to visit the Low Ceilings website, and follow Low Ceilings on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Bonus Track: ‘Dog Walking.’ Because who doesn’t like a Good Dog?

Charles Norman is a writer and historian. Email: reverb.raccoon@gmail.com. Or follow on Instagram and Facebook.

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