Friday, September 14, 2012

Let It Be

It started as a joke – influenced by a little laziness.  A volunteer “flower” (more likely a weed – a real one – not one of those cutesy “just plants growing in the wrong place” type of weed but an invasive, unwanted, ugly invader) appeared in the midst of my border-defining arborvitae.
 I could hear the voice of Paul McCartney singing in my head:
      “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
      There will be an answer, let it be.”
So I did. 
 It had the large, floppy, green leaves of perhaps a skunk cabbage (not desirable but okay) or perhaps (in my dreams) rhubarb.  I could already taste the bittersweet sauce to be harvested. 
 It was neither.
It grew taller and taller – each level like the one below with three or four long-stemmed, elephant eared leaves.  Walkers passing by our property stopped to talk and express if not admiration at least curiosity.  At around eight feet tall, golf ball-sized, purple hued thistles showed up at the ends of the branches.
And small animals in our hometown began to disappear.
Initially I didn’t make the connection.  Then I remembered the movie “Little Shop of Horrors” about Seymour a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant (“Audrey II) that starts out sweet and innocent but quickly morphs into a genormous carnivore that feeds on human flesh and blood.
Marsha and I don’t have any pets in the normal sense of the word – but we do feel a certain responsibility for the birds, squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks that pass through our habitat.  I took a rough count and thought that the population looked a little depleted.
It seemed a little silly but then again, why take any chances?  It is almost autumn, and we have already gotten more enjoyment this year out of the thistle than from any of our planned plantings.  It’s all horticulturally downhill from here.
I armed myself with my Japanese pruning saw and waded into the surrounding cedar brush.  There was a brief struggle and I thought that I heard a plaintive moan as I severed the two-inch stalk from its firmly imbedded root.  My tee shirt was littered with prickly balls, including two that found their way onto the inside and poked into my flesh as I bent down to dismember my fallen foe.
As I stood over my opponent’s corpse I felt a wave of pride and relief.   Then I remembered the ending of the movie wherein Audrey II is similarly destroyed.  (Actually it was immolated, but our town doesn’t allow such things.)  The camera focuses on a distant part of Seymour’s lawn where a miniature Audrey III with a big S.E.G. is popping up through the soil.
 I probably should do something about that remaining root.   On the other hand some of the neighborhood cats can be really annoying.

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