I love weeds. I love plants which sprout in cracks, parking lots, on barren concrete rooftops. I have a fascination and somehow, an admiration (while respecting what a terrible pest some of these plants become) for when plants go dominantly feral and take over, in the vein of the ‘terrible beauty’ concept that Yeats coined.
Type in ‘Kudzu, USA‘ to google images and you will see what I mean. Known as ‘the vine that ate the south’, this plant was introduced to the USA from Japan and is now rampant in the south, taking over whole buildings, whole abandoned towns. It is awesome, in the original meaning of the word. It fills me with awe. It also fuels the part of my imagination that ponders what the world might look like without humans, post-humans.
Whenever I see plants ‘pushing back’, I always stop in my tracks and contemplate the scene. Or abandoned places where the plants have been left to do what they will without our weeding, clipping and manicuring.
I love the way the roots of this tree have escaped the tidy concrete box it was planted in. Isn’t this a potent visual metaphor? Don’t we all feel like this sometimes? That we are outgrowing the parametres of our lives? Pushing past our received roles?
This is a shed in the back of an abandoned house I passed on a walk. Whenever I see abandoned places I go and have a mooch around, always curious about the terrain post-people. I don’t know if you can see, but the shed is full of plants, convolvulus, jasmine and self-seeded pittosporums…and what was once a vegetable bed to the right is now a sea of convolvulus.
This is a glasshouse at the back of a place (a beautiful place!) where we holiday sometimes. An aloe has been left to grow and grow and grow in a glasshouse, to the point it has smashed through the glass (can you imagine the upwards and outwards force needed by the plant to break glass? Amazing.) Isn’t there something kind of awful and wonderful about it, all at once?
I will not be stopped by your ridiculous human edges, borders and constraints…say the plants, through their actions. This indomitable onwards energy is what I love about nature.
I’m going to be speaking at this symposium, WORKING WITH NATURE coming up next month. I’m very excited by the topic – a topic close to my heart and much on my mind pretty much all the time. I kind of drives me a little crazy that humans talk so much about ‘nature’ as something separate from ourselves, when we are so obviously part of nature. We ARE nature. All life is symbiotic. I also SEE through my yoga teaching, how removed from ‘nature’ people can be in terms of how removed from their breath and body they are and the amazing beneficial effects of returning to body awareness and deep conscious breath.