Sunday, May 23, 2004

The World's Largest Female ... Republican ?

When I read that Japanese Knotweed is the "world's largest female," I felt a proud frisson of sisterhood. Sure, I also read about its aggressive and malignant invasiveness, but still, passing the vast and burgeoning banks of it near the river, I've felt a secret feminist kinship.

When I first began doing the river walk back last fall I admired the ubiquitously pendant golden seeds.

They're pure decoration. All the reproductive action goes on rhizomatously, subversively, underground. When the grim municipal reaper came through late fall and crewcut the luxuriant pathside, he did not spare the knotweed. Its resemblance to bamboo -- its hollow, segmented stems -- became quite apparant.

When the spring floods came, thickly packed flats of knotweed stems logjammed the inlets.

And, when the waters receded, up rushed the season's new crop of knotweed.

Then more.

Then more.

Then more.

I have been admiring the thick, green, red-specked stems, and the crimson veined new leaves, and note that, in the space of one month, many of the plants have grown taller than me. One helluva powerful woman, that knotweed. You go girl !

But Joseph Duemer , whose yard is apparantly menaced by the stuff, politicizes it differently:

... (knotweed) can grow to eight feet tall & is pollinated by flies because the flowers—small, white, sticky clusters—smell like death & defecation. Knotweed is the Bush presidency of invasive species: utterly worthless but inexorable, without even aesthetic value. ...

He's right, of course. I admit it. Knotweed plays havoc with the landscape, overwhelms less assertive species, muscles in everywhere, stinks, encroaches, consumes, overwhelms, pushes itself blindly across the planet playing out its imperial agenda of domination -- much like the non-floral Bush that's doing its political death and defecation thing in the White House.

OK, then. Knotweed, like W. is worthless and inexorable.

But maybe, unlike the president, just a tiny bit beautiful ?

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