Sunday, September 14, 2008

I pulled, I prodded, I yanked from the earth

This is an essay I wrote as part of my writing class. Its here because I feel like it.

I spent the morning pulling up weeds at my job. It’s not part of my normal job; one of my coworkers had slacked on his responsibilities. It amounted to his spraying weed killer on them, and later coming by and pulling the dead weeds out. Which was done sporadically at best. So I pulled weeds. I hacked at the larger ones with a hoe. I grabbed the ones that had rolled off like tumbleweeds, the weeds that had been sprayed. I came home with a broken blister on my hand, and sore thumbs like video games had never known.

I saw many different plants that day. Some were tumbleweeds, as tall as I was. They had rolled up on the fence, held up from the old-west showdown that they were late for. I was sure a lot more got away, as they had stacked 6 feet to the top of the fence. The live ones resisted my pull, desisting and rejecting human intervention. Some were wide, some were thorny, and several were even thin and narrow. However, all the plants were tall. Most as tall as my shoulders, they were.

Also removed was a tree. It was near the fence as well it was small and only 5 or 6 years old. The company was going to be putting down asphalt to better maintain its yard. The tree had to go. It was already close enough to the fence to start growing into it. We cut the plant limbs that were growing through the fence, so we could pull it out. Then they pulled in the crane they have. All the while I sat and watched, wondering why they need to pull out the tree. After the steel hooks found purchase the crane struggled briefly. With a heart-wrenching tear, the tree came free of the earth.

I look at where the tree was even now. It has a piece of wood still attached to the fence, where the young tree stands no more. I wonder who should have privilege over there. Do the “weeds” and trees that do nothing to the outside world have precedence, or the men who use the land to store merchandise and equipment? Who are we to say what lives and what dies? These men could not say what all man-made is there; it looks like a junkyard. Nature is gone, replaced with a junkyard. Today, I was weeding at work. I pulled, I prodded, and I yanked from the ground. What was once a jungle of weeds is now a jungle of steel. What is better; A plot of plants, now overgrown; or perhaps a layer of junk, rusted red with age? I toiled and worked, pulled nature from not. I wondered: will nature be back? Will it cover the junk? Why do we need it except to keep it “humane”?

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