I am a single strand of grass. I sprout through the Earth and take a deep breath of crisp, Dakota air. New life surrounds me as the harsh winter conditions subside for the year—spring is finally upon us. Sunlight feeds my tissue, helping me reach toward the sky and sway as the wind takes hold of me. The breath of Dakota brushes against my side, almost as if it is speaking to all life that inhabits its land. As the Earth around me thaws, rain rhythmically patters the soil, quenching my thirst and hydrating the land around me. My roots reach deeper into the ground, anchoring me in place within the soil, and I become one with the land. Dakota groans as it awakens from its slumber and new life beings to surround me; this land gives me life.
I am a single strand of grass. I experience the change of seasons as the temperatures continue to rise into summer. Vast lands that stretch for miles lie before my eye, appearing to be neverending. The sun’s heat beats down on me as I sway with the wind and the rest of the grasses, increasing my urge for water. From my perspective, the world appears bright and full of life. Prairie dogs, rabbits, skunks, and the occasional deer cross my path to bring me company, using me as shelter. As the sun dips behind the horizon, I find myself relaxing along with the land. Dakota holds peacefulness in its vastness and encourages growth in the warm seasons. The experience of summer gives me a fruitful perspective on the lands of Dakota, lush with vegetation and thriving with wildlife in all forms.
I am a single strand of grass. My life cycle is similar to that of any life form: I start young, grow to a finite point, and from there, live out my days until my cycle is complete. When autumn comes to season, I know my life in Dakota is dwindling. I feel the air lose its cradling touch of warmth, and I begin my slow descent back into the Earth. The colors of Dakota change from vibrant shades to muted oranges and browns. The trees surrounding me lose the deep green they once had, and the leaves clothing their branches fall to the ground. Despite the change in conditions, Dakota transforms into a different form of beauty.
I am a single strand of grass, now surrounded by snow at this point. My roots have become frozen to the ground and my vibrant green coloring has left me for a while. I know my days are limited as the bitter weather overtakes the land of Dakota for the next three months. The animals are sparse, as many of them are hibernating or seeking warmth. White covers the land that was once scattered with color, and I feel the light touch of snowflakes landing on my skin. As the snow-packed trees glisten in the sun and the wind blows snowflakes around in a flurry, the land of Dakota sparkles whimsically.
I am a single strand of grass, and I witnessed the full cycle of seasons that define Dakota. Change is always occurring, which allows for a greater appreciation of the beautiful weather Dakota offers. From my small perspective on the land that surrounds me, I have found that Dakota holds a unique beauty that grips the eye of the beholder. Winter will once again subside, and new grass will grow, but my life on Dakota has come to an end. I became connected with the land, interwoven into the beauty of Dakota. My home will remain here forever, in the vast prairies of Dakota.
A narrative of the Dakota seasons written by Lily Monroe, a Sophomore of Exercise Science and Psychology at Augustana University.