Climbing plant around door handle.

I think many of us take a certain delight in observing how quickly, if given the opportunity, nature recaptures and dismantles the man-made.

It’s no wonder that those who live closer to the natural cycle and who depend directly upon it for their livelihoods quite frequently describe it in less than gentle terms. “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” and all that. It’s a constant struggle, a battle even, to wrest sustenance from an environment that seeks constantly to return to the equilibrium and diversity of weeds and so-called pests. (After all, anybody with a lawn is all too familiar with the power of living entropy.)

The picturesque tradition in art of abandoned architecture, or ruins returning to the earth, carries a heavy burden of metaphor and (by now) cliché. A descent into bathos is always perilously near.

I wonder, though, if I lived behind this wooden gate in a backyard alley fence: would I pull down the flowering vine that has wrapped itself delicately, gracefully around the door handle just so that I wouldn’t have to walk around the block to the front?

A Year Ago: Urban Tradeoff

Shadows on the city sidewalk.It’s a city.

You get cigarette butts on the sidewalk, and random blobs of tar or chewing gum…
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