19 March 2023
Is that it? Is the gas company done now? I ask because Eastwood is all bumpy. Our Northwood roads were a mess for decades before the most recent paving made them nice and smooth. Now these yellow-vested nincompoops chop ’em up and patch ’em all higgledy piggledy. Neatness counts, people. Someone out there knows whom to call.
3 March 2023
Well, we tried.
I, for one, had no idea of the tenacity that our foe could summon. Don’t recruits, jacked on visions of glory, usually underestimate the battle ahead? For all the disparaging talk of “invasive species,” this was now their home turf and we the invaders.
My certainty of success began wavering instantly. First was the assessment of our inadequate equipment. Then the poor condition of my untrained muscles, adapted through covid and winter and age to little more than holding a book.
My first assault was futile at best. I was instructed by my superiors to admit that the tree I chose to rescue was already dead. Chagrined, I moved on to save a grand maple being over topped by a massive number of vines. I hacked, and I lopped, and I yanked, and I dug. The vines fought back vigorously and with an unanticipated biological weapon. Multiflora Rose thorns contain sporothrix schenckii, a fungus that can spread to the lymphatic system, the joints, the bones, and attack the central nervous system and lungs. One of the many horrors of our enemy flora’s arsenal. Within minutes, the intensity of the fight had sapped my strength and I was functioning on reserves of coffee and anger.
Damn it, I thought, commanders need to call in the big guns! Alas, though we could see bulldozers down at Dennis Avenue, that line was not in service. Minutes went by like agonizing hours. Then my comrade went down, out-maneuvered by the tangle at her feet. I went to her aid and I admit we abandoned our posts but only to seek medical aid. Boy, that shower felt good. Others held their positions to the bitter end. Hurrah to them! Awards of courage are due them for their stout hearts.
Though we may have lost the battle, don’t be disheartened, my fellow warriors. We live to fight another day, having learned that a full-frontal assault is ineffective. We shall yet persevere with guerilla tactics. Join the resistance. Our day will come.
[Carlos del Real lives on Margate Road.] ■
This listserv response was too hilarious to omit!
Carlos, your account of the Battle of Lockridge makes for a harrowing read. After I was done I had to take an industrial strength sedative. Your experience brings to mind comparisons to Waterloo. In that historic altercation there, too, was no lack of brave and intrepid foot-soldiers, if poorly equipped, inexperienced, and ultimately doomed.
But not even Napoleon himself had to combat the relentless onslaught of belligerent vegetation, in particular the potentially lethal thorns of the innocent-looking Multiflora Rose.
Your gallantry — and that of your fellow weed whackers — is to be applauded. But join the resistance? I am far too fainthearted to contemplate such a venture. As I write this, the hubby is already planning to construct a reinforced-concrete perimeter around our property as a precautionary step against a possible incursion of aggressive, alien flora advancing from the direction of Lockridge.
[Fiona Morrissey, Edgewood Avenue]
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