Monday, August 27, 2018

The Severed Vine

It doesn't know it's dead.

On the eastern and northeastern walls of our little suburban rambler, the English ivy has clambered and grown over the decades.  It's an invasive, and it ain't great for the house, which I well know and have chosen to ignore.  Being of mongrel-British stock, there's a significant part of me that rather likes the look, particularly on the eastern frontage, where the windows framed about with green give our home a hobbit-hole pleasantness.

But on the northeastern side, it's gotten too much.  It's dense and thickening and too high to trim.  It glowers over the windows of our bedroom, thick as the the fleshy folds over John Merrick's eyes, presenting not as homey but as neglect and ruin.  This fall, it's time for it to go.  It'll be a multi-day affair, as tendrils and creeper-roots are carefully excised from a ladder's vantage.

Wood will be repainted, and brick restored.  It'll be a lovely project.

In preparation for that, I severed the vines from their roots all along the base of the wall, which is the recommended preparation for such a task.  The vines will die, and dry, and their grasp on the wall and painted surfaces will be weakened.

That was the idea, two weeks ago, when I systematically sheared vine from root.

I gave it a day or six, then went to check.  There was no wilting.  No browning.  If anything, the upper reaches of the vines were still growing, snaking further out and up.

There is so much life in it, so much coursing sap, that though it no longer has root in the earth, it's completely oblivious to the fact that it is already dead.  It draws no meaningful nourishment from the brick from which it will be wrenched.

Yet still it stubbornly courses on, draining the life from withering, dying, disconnected stumps.