I have a great deal of admiration for things that grow where they aren’t supposed to. In the paved lot in the old golf course weeds force their way up through tiny cracks and make bigger cracks. Elsewhere in the golf course, a stealthy thistle pokes through the decking of a small footbridge. And the roots from the aspen tree that came down in the wind this spring are sending up suckers to interrupt the uniform surface of the lawn next to my parking spot.
I like things that grow opportunistically. Because they sneak in and grab a toehold in a tiny spot of soil and soak up some sun and photosynthesize their little hearts out when no one is looking. Because they thumb their metaphorical noses at the forces that said, “Oh no, you can’t do that here. This is a lawn (or a parking lot, or a garden) and the likes of you don’t belong here…”
Twenty-seven years ago I signed a rental agreement for a house with two mature, stately trees in the front yard. The trees were one of the things that drew me to the house. A few weeks later, on moving-in day, I pulled up in front of the house and was horrified to see two big tree stumps. The landlord pulled up behind me and jumped out of his car to hand me the keys. He was beaming with delight.
“I got rid of those trees! I think you’ll find it much brighter now—and we won’t have to worry about the foundation. I’ll have a guy around next week to grind out the stumps.”
I mourned those trees. A few weeks later, the unseen root network started pushing up suckers all over the lawn. I rebelliously chose one and started avoiding it with the lawnmower.
I drove past that house today. My little sucker is a huge tree—actually a cluster of four trunks rising from a single base—towering over the two story house.
I like it when the little guys win.