There is a battle going on. Been going on for quite some time. A war that no side seemed to be winning… but it goes on and on. For quite some years I have been a mute witness. I didn’t want to interfere, partly because of a degree of ignorance as to the right or wrong of it and partly because I have been mesmerised by the stoic resistance to an unrelenting seeking of dominance.
A week ago I was forced into action.
It’s is strange how you can live someplace and not really see what is going on all around you. Once you do see, there is no unseeing. Nature is what it is, and one of the huge vanities of humanity is the notion we can/must dominate nature.
I can’t say I know the right or wrong of it, but I can see it is a matter of survival. The survival of the fittest. No quarter is asked and none is given. In the end, I felt compelled to take action.
I suppose I should start at the beginning. We have been playing one side against the other for too long. The lush and vital ivy versus the fragrant but sometimes scrappy jasmine where what drew me in. Our fences, our borders are typically suburban. But we have a large pool so the council requires no easy access from the potential children of our potential, if not existing neighbours. I hate feeling fenced in. Longshanks and I willfully encouraged both the ivy and jasmine to proliferate. We played one against the other in order to hide the ugly fencing. How could we have known that all in their paths would be consumed? I was forced into action and thereby had my eyes opened wide.
It wasn’t just the ivy and jasmine vying for control. It happens so slowly – apart from the occasional growth spurt – that you really don’t see it. Not until one day you suddenly realise you are living in a jungle. The poor Japanese maple has no chance against the privet hedge or the other aggressive spikey shrubbery that shall remain nameless because horticulture is not my strong suit. It is unchecked. It is anarchy unless I step in.
ie; What I lovingly call the ‘teddy bear’ tree is quite passive compared to the other unclassified bushes and growth that surround it. The camphor laurel is severely stressed by yet another native but totally different spices – the possum.
Possums are consuming its budding canopy and threaten the to bring about the demise of said tree. The cedar tree would be doing a lot better but the councils constant butchering to keep it clear of the power lines makes it an uphill battle. The birch and elder suffer for the same reason…
But none of this compares to the unrelenting crawl of plant against plant. They all strive toward the sun.
I love the verdant green as much as the sound barrier they offer twixt us and the daily swoosh of traffic sliding by. I have taken to policing some very fuzzy demarcation lines. I don’t want to push things too far but if I don’t interfere… well I cannot imagine the consequence. And don’t get me started on the offered privacy of the clumping bamboo. Its own inner fighting is just incomprehensible. It chokes itself. No matter how hard I try to maintain a balance, it just thrives.
The neighbour’s fruit-bearing fig once happily provided a natural grotto, shielding and comforting a large bronze statue we bought long ago. Now it drops it bits and pieces into our pool and draws all manner of rodents to feed off its bounty. i would feed off it as well if I ever got the chance.
Ever since Joey and I visited Slave Haven in Memphis, the magnolia tree we have has come to represent both the incredible inhumanity people are capable of as much as the true heroism that is born of it. Nature is a contrary S.O.B. Likened to proffered Lord, it giveth and it taketh away. The magnolia tree is the has the uncontested privilege of dropping it leaves all year round into our pool. as it now represents to me the nature and cost of freedom. The magnolia is granted an unconditional pardon. I broke down and wept like a baby when we visited Slave Haven. (it was the first stop of the underground railway that helped the slaves escape the travesty of the South and seek liberty in the North of America).
I spend more and more time amid our greenery trying to maintain peace and harmony among the warring factions. I love the look and fragrance of lavender growing unchecked as much as the oddly hybrid look of the Kangaroo Paw.
All have a right to life, but surely not at the expense of others. I find it a startlingly beautiful metaphor for Life itself. All beings, sentient or otherwise have the right to live.
“she had been instructed from birth in the equality of all sentient life forms”(Where that quote comes from eludes me, but it punctuates quite nicely).
Life is not passive. Nor need it be overly aggressive. Trite as it sounds, it is what it is. Keep cool. maintain the peace.