Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Berry Poopers

Wickedly smiling berry pooper
As my niece told me, pokeweed is invasive--so much so that it has now outrun Wikipedia, which thinks we don't have any here. It's planted by birds. Birds are unaffected by the seeds and so they eat them and poop them out and fly to a branch and smile wickedly at us. It's an inward smile, on account of the beak situation. They're smiling because pooping out toxic plants is their plan to get back at us for letting our stupid cats out. And for pesticides, and windows that look like sky, and tidying up our gardens so there's nothing to eat, and climate change that's throwing off the insect hatch, and mountaintop removal, and all that there.

We don't like invasive species, officially, even though we're responsible for most of them. Some of them chew up all the plants we really like, or choke off the fish in lakes, or outcompete natives, or otherwise throw everything off balance. Even the ones that appear harmless, like the plague of ring-necked doves, can be very disruptive to the musicsphere. All hoo-hoo, hoo-hoo, all day long, like some crappy avian New Age music that they play in the naturopath's office that's supposed to calm you down and totally doesn't. Somewhere in Florida right now there's an escaped tropical pet bird with constipation heading this way with a load of kudzu seeds and a pair of stowaway Japanese beetles. Invasives! Bleah. We hate them.

That might be what psychologists call "projection." After all, the worst invasive in the world is us. The glaciers held us in check for a long time, but once they pulled their icy lips back off the marble, we invaded like crazy. Look, there's a nook! There's a cranny! Let's jam ourselves in there. It'll be right roomy once we wipe out all the big scary animals. Heck, we can use this entire middle part for growing Cheez Doodles if we shoot all the bison that are stomping on it. And their bones are so much fun to stack up.

We can't get enough of invasion. Even now we've got people absolutely incensed that some of the real estate has been pulled off the market, like our parks and refuges, because all that wasted land could be used to make hamburger or toilet paper or money. We assume we own every little thing and then we treat it like we can always get more.

But right about now the world is gathering up its forces. There's anthrax thawing out in Siberia. There are viruses auditioning mosquitoes and chickens for hosting rights. There are droughts spreading and people moving toward diminishing sources of water and we're bombing each other over the goodies that are left. The sea is rising and sending little fingers into the coastline. That's the earth feeling along the ribs, looking for the sternum and diaphragm, and when it gets a good grip it's going to Heimlich us out of here.

The earth won't last forever, either. The sun's getting brighter, and the oceans will evaporate, and the tectonic plates are going to grind to a standstill, and the planet's going to get a good wobble to it, but it'll still be a cushy ride for another billion years or so, plenty of time for a do-over of the species list. Maybe it will even come up with something like us, with an ear for music, prehensile antlers, a handy pouch, and two tails to send mixed messages with. Maybe it can whomp up something really smart. After all, it only took about sixty million years to score a human being out of a basic shrew. Smart's okay. Wonderful things have been created by smart humans.

And maybe next time the Smart won't have enough momentum to outrun the Wise.

31 comments:

  1. I think that humans are to the Earth as cells are to our bodies. And just as in our bodies, when cells multiply out of control, we get cancer, so it is with the Earth. We are Earth's cancer. And all these diseases that are springing up that threaten to wipe us out? Earth's chemo. The trouble with chemo is that it may wipe out other, more benign "cells", or it may kill the host entirely. But as the "cancer" definitely will end up killing the host, what's the Earth to do?

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    1. Shoot out the big meatwad, I'm thinking.

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  2. That last sentence says it all. I do love the earth Heimlich maneuver image!

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  3. At three in the morning this is a depressing encapsulation of truth. A seed which needs to become invasive.

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    1. Which reminds me: I might start scheduling these posts later. Just letting you other-side-of-the-worlders know in advance--be not afraid!

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  4. Hopefully, someday we'll stop following the adage: Until it's proven to be disastrous, and we can no longer fix it, just do it.

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    1. Remember Mork being flabbergasted that we were doing nuclear power without having invented "Nuke-B-Gone?"

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  5. It makes me thankful I don't have grandkids.

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    1. You and I did not worsen this particular problem, anyway!

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  6. If you can indulge my rant for a moment, I lay 95% of the blame on over-population. We need to get a grip on that!

    Okay, I'm done. And probably set you up for a joke or two while I was at it.

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    1. Rant away. It would be interesting to live long enough to see how the world depopulates us. There are so many possibilities.

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  7. Came in from Drifting though life. When I first saw they photo. It reminded me of what we call choke cherries.
    Which makes good wine or jelly.
    If you find the time stop on by for cup of coffee.

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    1. Thanks! Don't make pokeberry jam please.

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  8. What? Cheez Doodles can be grown?? (*~*)

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  9. I always come here for some laughs.
    This time? Nope. I got nothin' pithy to say.You're too damn' close to reality on this one.
    On the brighter side? I'll be gone before the stupid ones finally heed the warnings.
    So long, and thanks for all the fish?

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    1. I musta stuck one laugh in there. I had spares.

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  10. ...you put your right foot out and you shake it all about, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that's what it's all about..
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  11. I'm now going to drown my sorrows in cheese doodles.

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    1. I visualized something like one of those big tubs of ping pong balls the kids swim in.

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  12. At least pokeweed is native to North America if not to Oregon, which makes it not quite as invasive as kudzu and daisies. It's just expanded its natural range instead of hitching a ride from another continent.

    I've been wondering if the Zika virus might be a preliminary shot by the planet to thin us out. Making people afraid to get pregnant has to thin the herd a little.

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  13. ...but, hey, look on the bright side: Wickedly Smiling Berry Pooper = Life Bird!!

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    1. Perhaps not - but if you don't, it will STILL be a Life Bird - every time you see it!

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  14. Just remembered. The birds are angry about the wind turbines. My birding friend calls them "bird cuisinarts" and says we should call wind farms wind "factories." "Farms" sounds all natural and innocuous.

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