This story is from Texas Monthly’s archives. We have left it as it was originally published, without updating, to maintain a clear historical record. Read more here about our archive digitization project.

Grass usually lies just below our line of vision. Our eyes seek the scale of trees and buildings or, in lack of them, the enormous dome or sky. We admire the colors of grass, play ball games on it, enjoy its feel under our backs on the warm spring day; but we use it hard. We don’t delve too far into its subtle nature. We assume that given enough water, it will just keep coming up for us to mow or, in the rural equivalents, harvest and graze. We take our grassland for granted, and in Texas, which was once two-thirds prairie, that has almost been its ruin. Scarcely one tenth of that prairie is left, scattered across pastures in the western half of the state.