Saturday, August 4, 2018

What Grows in America

Crowds gather waiting for Amorphophallus titanum to raise a stink at Huntington Gardens. A matter of life and death together blooming with a stench of rotten fish and sweaty feet calling pollinators to spread the seed. The mortuary meets the maternity ward inside the greenhouse.

They call it a corpse flower. Is it the sight of the open petal with its five or six foot phallus that draws the vigil or the inhalation of death? Thousands have been coming to the greenhouse in Pasadena for the past week as Shakespeare put it to watch as each hour it (we) ripe and ripe and each hour it (we) rot and rot.

Beauty reeking to high heaven like truth. There is, of course, no death; only the smell of it to summon the bugs which roll around in the pollen, then fly away and propagate. At least that is what happens in the Sumatra rainforest.

In a few months the forests of New England will become a destination for tourists marveling at the dying of sycamore, birch and maple leaves. In late summer they lose their chlorophyll and by autumn their carotenoid blazes in ruddy to amber dress. Tis a glorious demise as if the diva has held back her most majestic aria as she goes down in full regalia. And yet again the bare branches are already pregnant with next season’s singing foliage.

The ecosystem is self-renewing. Some trees depend on fires for renewal. Whose woods these are, I think I know, said Robert Frost. Yet with heedless predators like us one wonders if they stand a chance. We are scorching our grassland and forests. Every year the fire season is expanded with record temperatures and high winds. We are witness not just to the smell of death or the cyclic grandeur of dying leaves but the bitter sorrow of lost Nature and slow burn of our Democracy.

As if the electorate has committed suicide we’ve entrusted our precepts, our heritage, our dignity, the very air we breathe to a man beneath contempt. The shell of a human being without soul or conscience. The stinkweed of America has been fertilized and watered so that now it creeps out from under rocks. It reeks of tyranny and brutality. It can only be eradicated as it is seen, an infestation not indigenous to this land or any.

1 comment:

  1. B and I have our own version of the Corpse Flower except it doesn't have a flower and it kills the flies by attracting them with this awful smelling non toxic stuff and luring them inside the bottle to drown. Death only, no pollination.
    I am at a loss for words to describe our miserable situation so I thank you for finding them for me.