by Carl Strang
This week’s sound recording is another of the songs I wrote for the “Dandelion” story. That story follows a boy, Richard, who is adjusting to an unwanted move from the mountains to a suburb in the prairie. In his dreams he is guided by Dandelion, one of the few plants he recognized from his former home. Here is the lead-in to the song:
That night, Dandelion was back. “Look, Richard, you may be going too far with this people-pleasing routine. If you’re exactly like everyone else, or if everyone were like everyone else, the world would be a boring place. It’s good that you want to enjoy the friendship of others, but don’t give up being honest and being yourself for it. Say, maybe you should meet someone who is a very important part of that prairie you’re studying, but who is at the same time a real individual.”
Suddenly the room went black. And now, sprouting up from the floor of Richard’s room and into a spotlight was a very tall, very thin person, in glittering, rhinestone-covered green clothes that caught the light, sparkled and shone. It seemed there was applause all around, though Richard saw no audience. The green guy held up his hands with their long, thin fingers, and spoke.
“Thank you, thank you. I should introduce myself, since some of you folks are from out of town, new to the prairie. My name is Big Bluestem Grass, though you can call me Big Blue if you want. I am one of the tall grasses that made the prairie what it was. Two hundred years ago, the other prairie plants and I covered square mile after square mile of land. We’re still around, but harder to find. Listen here.” An unseen orchestra started to play, and Big Blue began to sing.
“They call me Big Blue, and my roots go deep,
My top is eight feet tall from my head to my feet.
But that’s not all, my roots go six feet down
To get that water far below the ground.
I’m taller than most other plants and you,
That’s why I’m Big Blue, yeah, Big Blue.
Now when the prairie covered almost all this land,
When the forest by the prairie fire was banned,
The grasses ruled, and up above them all,
Was me, Big Blue, standing proud and tall.
I’m still around, but it’s a rarer view
To see some Big Blue, yeah, Big Blue.
So find a prairie plot,
’Cause you and I should meet.
Look up and find my tops,
Shaped like a turkey’s feet.
Then you can tell your folks and best friends, too,
That you met Big Blue, yeah, Big Blue.
They call me Big Blue, yeah, Big Bluestem Grass.