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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Surprises in the kudzu

We are no stranger to kudzu, and I've long held a secret admiration for the luscious green vine in summer. In the other seasons, not so much, the reason being that without the thick green foliage, the rotting and decaying under story becomes visible.

Of course, if we didn't have some cold weather to hold back the vine, I'm not sure there would be anything left here. Way back when my grandparents tended a small plot of land, we have to run a gang disk around the field every day to keep the kudzu out of whatever we had growing in the field.

We have a large plot of kudzu growing by this apartment building, and now, I know that I don't have to skirt the edge carefully because it's not dripping with snakes and rabid vermin the way my mother described. It's just there, growing very rapidly, even with purple flowers that I never knew existed before last year when I saw them for the first time.

Yes, it was a sheltered childhood.

So there are surprises in the kudzu. False tales from childhood and an overactive imagination lead to all sorts of unpleasantness if we permit, but it doesn't have to be that way. I saw this one quite by accident when walking by this morning headed for a fountain Coke.

Now, just how did that sunflower get there? I suppose a bird dropped a seed from somewhere, perhaps a residential bird feeder. Perhaps a young boy dreaming of big league play spit a little too hard from the wad of seeds in his mouth, and the one viable seed among the million others roasted and salted flew off the walk and into the kudzu. Perhaps it's spontaneous generation.

OK, I doubt that last one.

Nonetheless, that seed had to fall just so to be able to sprout and grow. Much deeper into the woods, and the sprout would never have enough sun to thrive. Much further from the woods and the grounds keeper's lawnmower would have mowed it down far earlier this spring.

So here it is, standing tall and proud, assuming three feet makes tall for a sunflower. As best I can tell, the head does not track with the sun. Of course, it was 100 raw degrees out there today. Very few things followed that sun willingly for long today.

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