Eternal Embrace, 2011
I have often joked that if we went away and left our house untended for a couple of months Mother Nature would reclaim it so quickly that we wouldn’t be able to find it underneath all the vegeation when we came back.
When I was little my father always warned me never to plant bamboo anywhere near a house, or at all, if possible. The home of some friends of my parents had been lifted up off its foundation by bamboo originally planted a hundred feet away. It was costly to resettle the house and required digging out a couple of feet off the top of the whole lawn to successfuly remove all the bamboo runners.
I’ve always taken that lesson to heart. I’ve never planted bamboo. But between the English ivy that I planted and the phraigmites (a fast-growing wild reed) that were set loose when the city dug up our street ten years ago, I’ve more than enough to contend with without even having to worry about bamboo.
Some years it’s a battle to keep nature at bay. All sorts of invasive plant species lay in wait just beyond the front door, waiting for the right moment to stretch their tendrils out and grab hold of the house.
This might sound silly. But I can attest that during the nearly five years that the house next door to us has been empty there’s at least one bit of ivy that’s as thick as my wrist that has grown up the side of the house and into the roof.
One doesn’t have to be too observant to figure out that Mother Nature didn’t intend for anyone to live where we live.
Yesterday I saw two examples of nature sticking her big fat middle finger at mankind. “Don’t try to beat me!” both seemed to be daring. “You will not win.”
The first, shown above, was at a Civil War cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. The family of the deceased erected a strong iron fence around the grave site, sometime in the late 1860s, if the headstone is any indication. Someone also planted an oak tree a couple of feet outside the fence. For all I know it could have been squirrels playing with acorns. Whatever the case, the tree is a good seventy feet tall now and its base has steadily crept up on and taken over a corner of the fence. It didn’t push the fence out of the way. It merely grew around a corner post and the balusters until it had subsumed them. There’s no way you could separate the two now.
The second example was in an industrial neighborhood where someone left an moving van out to rust. Weeds and bushes grew around it. Trees, too. Annual floods from the nearby James River provided moisture and rich fresh soil to nuture them. Some of the trees grew around the trailer. But the one shown here would not be tamed by man’s metalwork. It inched its way into the frame and gradually separated the frame from the upper part of the trailer.
Nature always wins. Don’t ever forget that.
It’ll Take More Than Tin to Stop Me, 2011