the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Botany Lesson for Writers

A tip for all the writers out there:  The next time you want to describe a character putting down roots, and you want to make his connection to a place sound really tenacious and permanent, forget all those comparisons to big oak trees with deep roots.  Turns out they've got nothing on grape vines. 

We've been clearing vines from the strip of trees by our road, and found they all connected to one big mother vine.  Grape vines grow back as fast as you can cut them, so we decided to get the beast at its source and dig out the roots.  If you've ever tried this, you're no doubt laughing hysterically right now.  Roots are a euphemism for the insane things a grape vine does underground.  Those suckers are twisted beyond belief, like they didn't know which direction to grow, so they tried all of them.  This is the monster and its many tentacles that lay just below the surface:
About half an inch of the little swirl at the top is all that showed above ground.  The rest is a tangle of roots fused into one freakishly deformed mess.  Our next step will be to take an ax to the root that starts at the bottom center of the mess and dives down to the right, then up again.  It's as big around as my upper arm.  God knows how many more like it are tunneling off in other directions.  I suppose at this point we could throw a gallon of herbicide on it and cross our fingers, but after all this effort, and all the miles of vines we yanked out of the trees, it's become personal.  This monster will die at our hands, and we will drag its splintered, hacked-up body to the burn pile and set it on fire.  And dance around it.  And laugh.

I'm all right.  Really.

1 comment:

  1. Poison it Starr!! Anything else is just pruning and encouragement for more growth . . .