Hairy Panic

I’ve arrived home to star grass season. I call it star grass, but it’s actual name is Hairy Panic Grass, possibly due to the fact that the sight of this stuff burying everything induces a feeling that is indeed akin to hairy panic.

Piles of feather light seed heads piled up against any barrier, fences, shed walls, hedges, houses, cars. Star grass piles that shift with the wind, moving almost intelligently and with great cohesion backwards and forth across the paddocks.

Here is a video showing an entire town buried in Hairy Panic grass.

We can view this onslaught as a frustrating mess, which I have done in the past. Or, since we can’t do much about it, see the seeds instead as a phenomenon of nature that is quite the tale of successful genetic transfer.

Looking at the piles it is difficult to imagine how they are going to one day just disappear, yet that is exactly what happens. It might be a Tuesday, in a few weeks time when I realise to my surprise, there are no more seedheads and the surrounds of my home are clear once more.

Problems seem to have a season too. They show up in our lives, sometimes overwhelmingly in piles that we can barely see over. Then one day, perhaps a month, perhaps several later, the problem/s is gone.

Of course it may be replaced by another problem but the thing is – nothing is forever. Not the good, not the bad. It’s all just stargrass blowing in, blowing out.

As a poet, I enjoy the metaphorical parallels between hairy panic grass and overwhelm. The fact that they both appear in January and we have to face both issues at the same time makes this natural occurrence seem perfectly allegorical.

The return from holidays. Mountains of washing. A dusty house that hasn’t been lived in for a month, languishing houseplants, an email inbox that is choked and littered with dozens of urgent responses required. A physical mailbox also full of letters to open and bills to pay. An empty fridge. Oh, apart from the mouldy carrots and other items that needed tossing. Beds to make, bags to unpack, the list goes on…And everywhere outside of every window piles the Hairy Panic Grass pressing in on me. Hairy panic grass outside, hairy panic feelings inside.

I have a cup of tea and begin to write. The allegory is so precise, the timing too brilliant, nature is speaking to me, so I thought I would pass the message along.

These January problems will one day soon be blown away. Don’t let the piles get to you, breathe into the spaces, feel the stillness that is only available in the present moment and let the issues tumble where they will. We are of the ground, the sky and forever connected to something far greater than these fleeting seeds.

Hairy Panic Grass – yesterday it covered the entire lawn, today it is already receding, soon it will be gone

20 thoughts on “Hairy Panic

    • It really is and in this case so aptly named. I think it truly does trigger hairy panic when we see our homes and yards and sheds taken over and submerged by piles of relentless grass. In the past we have blow vaxed it and tries to gather it up but being out of town the wind changes and it all comes chuckling back in again. Just have to wait for a good gusty storm to take it somewhere else now.

  1. I’d never heard of that grass, but we had the mother of all storms last night which would have blown it away.
    I love your allegory, and all hail to you that you could put the chores to one side and simply create a wonderful piece of writing.

  2. Kate, I love your metaphorical allegory! Who knew about hairy panic grass? My goodness…but the joy of contemplating that it might blow away like any of our January (or February, or March) troubles. So nice to pause by your blog and contemplate life in Queensland!

    • It’s literally as light as air and floats and moves all over the place – which is kind of the problem, if you’ve ever tried to clean up those little white balls when a bran bag explodes …like that.

  3. It reminds me of the snow up north, except lighter and easier to walk through. The snow would also overwhelm,simultaneous to the emotional equivalent.
    I read a fable the other day of a happy man who read the message on a scrap of paper and walked away disappointed, followed by a distressed man who read the same piece of paper and walked away happy. When the observer went over to see what the message was, it said, “This, too, shall pass.” 😉

    • I hadn’t heard that fable before – it explains our problem with attachment so beautifully. It’s been a couple of weeks now and the hairy panic grass persists – some annoyances take awhile to blow over.

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