Saturday, May 21, 2011


Today as I took out the recycling to the receptacle in the alley, I stopped to notice the weeds that inevitably grow up in the little strip of soil between the pavement and the retaining wall in our backyard.

It's so ordinary that it often goes unnoticed, but it's wondrous that life is so persistent, isn't it? That something will find a way to live in any little bit of dirt that gets watered by the rain?

The spiny specimen above seems well-suited for its inhospitable environment. As if it knows it's unloved and unwanted, it bristles menacingly, threatening to sting those who might casually try to pluck it.

Meanwhile, this weed, an unauthorized occupant of a more privileged space (the elevated flowerbed atop the retaining wall), gamely emulates the florid attractions that earn other plants the right to be there:

And these intrepid leaves poke up through the barest crack in the concrete, scrabbling out a photosynthetic subsistence:

Life, inexorably it seems, seeks to thrive wherever it can—just as the human mind, perhaps just as inexorably, seeks to make meaning and metaphor out of whatever comes into its purview.


Virginia said...

Exactly the sentiment of my favorite song, God Bless the Grass, by Malvina Reynolds.
"They roll the concrete over it, but the grass grows back....for the grass is living but the stone is dead." Goes on to compare truth to the humble grass.

framiko said...

Thanks for the comment, Virginia. But does this mean I should feel bad about having clipped and Roundupped these weeds this morning? :-)

Rich said...

Frank, you're thinking like a biologist here. Darwin was fascinated with this phenomenon--the way in which nature proliferates variations in order to occupy every niche. While the cracks in your alley seem inhospitable, far more inhospital locations-three miles down below the surface of the ocean, one mile up in the atmosphere--life-forms seem to look for places, like the National League Central, where the competition is thin.

framiko said...

Great line about the NL Central, Rich.