Monday, June 7, 2010

Some Plants Can Surprise You

A seed falls on the pavement of a busy street, dropped by a passing black bird. It is trampled, kicked, spit upon and worse, and eventually ends up in a sidewalk crack with other ground-up bits of oily street dreck, dirt tar and dog urine. “I was between a rock and a hard place. There was nothing I could do”. But sometimes, worn-out excuses are not an option.

With nowhere to go but up, this seed finds moisture enough to germinate wherever it is, and sends out a tiny stem reaching upward and an exploratory strand of root downward. As the hot sun beats down on the tiny green stem, the new plant frantically explores the sidewalk crevice, and at last discovers the moisture beneath the concrete, and just as the leaves are about to wither and die, the roots start to pump essential moisture and nutrients to the leaves above. Having survived the first traumatic days, the plant continues to grow, roots getting longer and stronger, drawing strength from its surroundings. The muck in the sidewalk crack becomes a nourishing supply of minerals and nutrients. The moisture beneath the concrete is a well of plentiful strength, even on the hottest, driest day. The leaves fan out into beautiful mounds of urban greenery.

Living among the other tough plants that chose to make the most of what life had dealt them, the plant grows into a rugged and beautiful part of the summer urban landscape. Left to itself, the sidewalk weeds create their own world. Beautiful shades of verdant green, sometimes with flowers, sometimes with bursts of firework symmetry – all the traits we usually attribute only to the privileged plants of agriculture and botany. But these weeds achieved all this beauty themselves, asking for nothing, and making do with what they have.

Step on the crack, and they spring back!

Thanks for listening and contributing. For up-to-the-minute thoughts, come on over to I'm @dimbulb52

1 comment:

leslie said...

And then we either pull them up or pour noxious ammonia on them to kill them. What do WE know, huh?

Did I tell you I PLANTED moss, ON PURPOSE, in the cracks between my patio flagstones? ;-)

WV: aperch
A bird sat on aperch and enjoyed the sidewalk crack life.