Speaking of Dead Plants
While I can’t totally buy the concept of plants singing happy tunes (a la Disney animation), I find myself wishing that the denizens of the vegetative kingdom could nonetheless express emotion.
I thought about this as I returned to my clearing away project behind my garage. My last attempt ended disastrously with poison ivy rashes on my arms and legs and around my eyes. Now, a month and several visits to the local urgent care center later, I was ready to finish the little effers off! I had sprayed weed killer on them a few weeks ago, which would give them time to wilt and die before I tackled my outdoor project once and for all.
I can only guess that the weed killer did its work. Yes, the plants turned brown and fell away from the exterior siding of my garage. Still, I couldn’t be sure if my herbicidal efforts could take credit, or if the plants just expired at the end of their natural lives. This is when I found myself wishing that the plants could communicate with me with human speech.
When I mean communication, I’m not talking about hearing the sounds of a plant coughing and choking as the poison does its work. No, I was thinking more along the lines of the old clichéd act of the plant grasping its highest climbing leaf, letting out a gurgled, “Arrggh! You got me!” before plummeting to the ground where it would decompose. Ah, then I would know that I alone had vanquished my enemy.
Although, with my luck, I would notice a small black square on the wall where the ivy plant had dug its claws into my siding. From a distance, it would look like a smudge. Up close it would resemble a photograph. At this point, I would have to run into my house to fetch a magnifying glass so I could confirm my suspicions. (Sorry, no narrative devices such as “Using the magnifying glass I JUST HAPPENED TO HAVE IN MY BACK POCKET…” will be used here.)
A closer examination of the smudge shows that it is a photograph of a mature ivy plant flanked on either side by two smaller ivy plants! Oh no, my left-leaning bleeding liberal heart cries out! I’ve not only killed an ivy plant, but I’ve killed an ivy plant that had a family to support!
What have I done? How could I be so cruel, callous, and indifferent to destroy a bread winner? (Bread winner? How about chlorophyll provider?)
Just kidding! My enemy is dead and I have no regrets! Do you hear me, no regrets at all! Bwahahahahaha! What do I care if its children starve, or if the plant himself is not around to witness his little poisons grow up to attend an ivy league school! (ba dump ching!)
Surely, you saw that punch line coming two paragraphs ago!
On second thought, and there’s always a second thought, it’s probably just as well that plants can’t speak a language which humans understand. If they could speak, then I would hear thousands of blades of grass scream in agony as I mow over them every two weeks in the summer. Am I ready to endure the cursing that a tree might unleash on me as I prune its branches for its own good?
I guess I should be grateful for the way the world exists with all of its living things, vegetative and otherwise. At least flowers go quietly whenever we behead them for display in our vases!
(Thank you for reading. Now if only certain members of Congress could be as quiet as a plant…)