sawgrass - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
Sawgrass blades scrape against the thin cotton that is my only protection. The everglades is no place to be lost. In a few steps I find myself in a channel, clear of everything but the algae that floats in clumps. For a further twist of cruelty the air smells like wet grass and if I close my eyes for just a moment I am standing on my front lawn after a heavy shower. I raise my hand to my face and it comes away bloody; those tiny saws have sliced me a thousand “paper-cuts” with their teeth. I have a choice of sorts, to plunge further into the sawgrass that grows over my own head or follow this watery path...
When the engine cuts out my heart does too. I know before I pad down my empty pockets I left without my phone. I pad them down anyway, over and over. My head is an unproductive buzz. I stand in the midst of this sawgrass prairie as dense as any the Everglades has to offer. This isn't the type with room to move and cute wading birds. It's sawgrass that grows thick as a broom over peat. I can stay dry here and hope for rescue or take my chances with the crocodiles and leeches.
“The power grid shut down hours ago. A halloween hurricane, how fitting. The boys made a run for it over the everglades with as many as they could take; with no food or clean water what could they do? The fuel should last and the channel through the sawgrass is clear after the summer use. I worry though. Not for me, for them. I picture them stranded worse than me. That sawgrass cuts, there's a reason it got that name. Just like paper, one cut's not so bad, try having your skin sliced up over and over. It's pretty of course, the most beautiful green at the top with brown where it submerges into the marsh. They call it a prairie, but it's the most deadly you'll find anywhere. All I can do is sit an pray to Jesus, may He watch over them all.”
The sawgrass sways in the gusting wind, waving; the prairie alive as any ocean. To walk through those swaying knives would be torture, but to stay would be worse. Todd pulls his sleeves down to his hands and takes his first step, cold water filling his boots and soaking him right to his knees.
The sawgrass marsh is no lawn. In truth, it isn't grass at all. This plant that taunts us, this head high forbidden forest of sharp blades, is a sedge. Not a difference that will matter to us. Wet skin is that much softer, that much easier to slice right to the living layer and we are soaked; the rain was constant until an hour ago and we stand in water ankle-deep. I've loved the Florida Everglades all my life, but right now they are the enemy. What I wouldn't give to be one of the wading birds in this moment, to be able to fly out of this terrible soup and into the empty sky.
In the summer light the sawgrass is brilliant. The virescent sedge stretches to the lone trees and beyond, a vast marsh I hope never to set foot in. Out there you aren't the top of the food chain and though the water is everywhere there isn't a drop safe to drink. You could dehydrate while your skin waterlogged. But from here I can watch the wading birds and enjoy the hot sun, a cool drink and Sandy's easy chatter.
The sawgrass makes a meadow of sorts over the Everglades. Where it's less dense the blooms of the bladderwort bring splashes of yellow. This late in the day the brightness had gone, the contrast between the green and blue at the horizon is lessened. The sky and the sawgrass take on the grey tinge of twilight and we know that's our cue to head home.
Sarah closes her fingers around a blade of sawgrass, careful not the touch the sharp edge. She tugs at it and her fingers slip, almost slicing the webbing of her thumb. She pulls back from the grass, her pale eyes first going up to its tips and then following down to where it meets the yellow bloom of the bladderwort. Her eye brows arch. "Mama, that grass sure is strong, strong and mean."
Black plumes of smoke rise above the Florida Everglades. The sharp sawgrass blades burn in ragged lines toward the islands of trees. The smell of the air alone is enough to break Maggie's heart, but she's seen this before. Under the layer of water the roots are protected, the sawgrass will grow back. It is the wildlife she worries about, the birds and even the alligators. At the window her hands clasp the curtains, winding them around her hand until there is no more fabric in reach.