Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trees of Life

I don't give a fig for much modern TV programming now that LOST is off the air, but I do adore that History Channel show Life After People. They use a mix of CGI and real footage to demonstrate just how quickly all traces of our civilization would be absorbed back into nature and disappear, if all humans suddenly just up and vanished. (Hope springs eternal.)

I always enjoyed the weeds that start to take back parking lots when the blacktop starts to crack and decay, like behind the abandoned Showcase Cinemas at Bashford Manor. If left untouched for another 50-100 years, the vast expanse of concrete would once again be a wildlife area - the back-and-forth temperature extremes of scorching summers and ice-encased winters will gradually weaken anything, be it concrete, steel, what have you. And the gentle forces of vegetation pressing upwards against the pavement shouldn't be underestimated - like slow water torture, each Spring brings pressure from below. Sooner or later it all begins to add up until shoots of plants with a lust for life succeed in breaking on through to the other side.

Now here's an even better example of nature's indomitable drive to survive. I spotted this pair of strong-willed trees in Anchorage refusing to let a thick slab of poured concrete stop their advance. And upon closer inspection, I could see their roots extending like tentacles some feet away, going over, under, around, whatever it needed to in order to get the job done.

If I had but ten people in my employ with half the determination, life force, and joie de vivre of these trees, imagine what could be accomplished overnight.

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