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St. John’s Wort and I, Bent

As winter turned to spring a year ago, I looked at the flattened form of a St. John’s Wort bush I had planted the year before. Leafless and listless, it seemed utterly broken by the weight of the season’s snow. Looking at that plant laid so low, I was sure that I’d have to dig it up and replace it with something fresher. But over the month passed as the ever warmer rays of the sun shone upon it, it straightened up, sprouted new leaves and grew more robustly than before.

After another trip around the sun, I find myself looking at the specimen of St. John’s Wort, utterly decrepit again:

St. John's Wort, Flattened after the cold, hard winter of 2010-2011

With the experience of another year, I won’t be fooled this time around. Recovery will come. There is something held in common by St. John’s Wort and humanity. Like that lowly bush, we find a way to bloom again when laid low, even as we extend our roots more deeply, strengthening our xylem and phloem, gaining sustenance from dirt, sprouting little tiny green leaves, blooming with fuzzy little yellow flowers when we get hot, being harvested for anti-depressant tinctures and reaching an approximate height and width of 3 feet, and benefiting from occasional drip irrigation in drier climes.

7 comments to St. John’s Wort and I, Bent

  • Tom

    How nice.

    Except plants “know enough” to not take over the entire yard, they don’t drive other species to extinction, they don’t use all the resources as fast as they can so that other plants around have nothing and are wilted, they can’t be “homeless” and live in the real world (as opposed to our fictitious world of “money”, “class” and “privilege”).

    So humanity, more ignorant than plant life, continues on its merry way to extinction with each passing year while the rest of the biosphere waits to see what chemical imbalance we’ve propagated over their dormant season and tries to cope yet again with the cancerous scourge of the planet.

    One of the scariest books i’ve ever read: Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. Gives me the willies just thinking about it. What if all the plant life (yeah, like food plants too) just failed to come up one spring . . .(now extend the concept to the population of the acidifying oceans).

    • Yeah, actually I was writing with sarcasm, thinking of one of the kinds of sermons that goes out on Sunday, in which the pastor shares a little story about something that she or he saw in the last week, like a submarine sandwich without mayo, and then says, “and aren’t our lives kind of like a submarine sandwich without mayo?,” and the flock nods and hums and thinks, “ooh, deep,” and is lulled into agreement on claims that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny because if you think about it people are not like submarine sandwiches or bushes. Not at all.

      So, to make it short, I agree with you.

    • Mark

      Tom said:
      “Except plants “know enough” to not take over the entire yard, they don’t drive other species to extinction, they don’t use all the resources as fast as they can so that other plants around have nothing and are wilted.”

      You’ve obviously never heard of Kudzu.

    • Jon

      “know enough” to not take over the entire yard, they don’t drive other species to extinction, they don’t use all the resources as fast as they can so that other plants around have nothing and are wilted, they can’t be “homeless” and live in the real world (as opposed to our fictitious world of “money”, “class” and “privilege”).

      Smoke another bowl there buddy, ever heard of invasive Species ? Try Star Thistle or Kudzu…Where is your faith in Darwin?

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