Bring on the Rainy Season

In the lower Bronx, for example, enthusiasts found an ailanthus tree that was fifteen feet long growing from the corner of a garage roof. It was rooted in and living on “dust and roofing cinders.” Even more spectacular is a desert plant, Ibervillea sonorae—a member of the gourd family—that Joseph Wood Krutch describes. If you see this plant in the desert, you see only a dried chunk of loose wood. It has neither roots nor stems; it’s like an old grey knothole. But it is alive.  Each year before the rainy season comes, it sends out a few roots and shoots. If the rain arrives, it grows flowers and fruits; these soon wither away, and it reverts to a state as quiet as driftwood.

Well, the New York Botanic Garden put a dried Ibervillea sonorae on display in a glass case, “For seven years,” says Joseph Wood Krutch, “without soil or water, simply lying in the case, it put forth a few anticipatory shoots and then, when no rainy season arrived, dried up again, hoping for better luck next year.”

~  from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Reading about the Ibervillea sonorae, I thought: “That’s just like my blog, Campfire Tales: Every now and then I put out a few feeler posts; if I get a few readers, Hurray! If not, Better luck next time!

So I went looking for a photo, which led me to this site that sells those plants, which led me to this description:

Thrives on neglect.

~ from Attributes of Ibervillea sonorae according to The Cactus King

“Thrives on neglect?”

No. Campfire Tales may be a scrappy survivor, but it DOES not, SHOULD not, WILL not “thrive on neglect.”

(Although, strangely enough, my site did better without me this month than it did during many other months where I tried. That’s an exception, though… isn’t it?)

Poor Campfire Tales. Did The Cactus King hurt your feelings?

Here’s the rest of Annie’s thoughts, by the way:

(It’s hard to understand why no one at the New York Botanical Garden had the grace** to splash a glass of water on the thing. Then they could say on their display case label, “This is a live plant.” But by the eighth year what they had was a dead plant, which is precisely what it had looked like all along. The sight of it, reinforced by the label, “Dead Ibervillea sonorae,” would have been most melancholy to visitors to the botanical garden. I suppose they just threw it away.)

~  from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

**Nice word choice, Annie. Grace CAN be a simple act of kindness.

Well, all this reminds me of some photos: desert flowers, a cliffside tree; both thriving in harsh environments.


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