Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12: Growth Pressure, Blocked Sewer, Bad Day

The growth pressure of plants can do an impressive variety of tricks.  Bamboo can grow three feet in twenty-four hours, an accomplishment that is capitalized upon, legendarily, in that exquisite Asian torture in which a victim is strapped to a mesh bunk a mere foot above a bed of healthy bamboo plants whose wood-like tips have been sharpened.  For the first eight hours he is fine, if jittery; then he starts turning into a collander, by degrees.

This afternoon, I sat on my couch, reading this little paragraph as my sewer was being unblocked by a couple of plumbers.  It's a horrifying little tale that Dillard spins--a victim slowly impaled on bamboo spikes through plant growth pressure.  Nature turned into an instrument of torture. 

My sewer is clear, and I am $150 poorer.  The culprit of the problem was, among other things, roots.  Yes, trees and bushes are growing into my sewer line.  Plant growth costing me money and time.  I was not a happy homeowner.  However, I am grateful that the problem was not more serious.  I live in fear of collapsed pipes and backhoes.  (I come from a family of plumbers, so I am familiar with the hazards of tree roots and orangeburg pipe.)

Dillard, a little bit later in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, says this about roots:

The experimenters studied a single grass plant, winter rye.  They let it grow in a greenhouse for four months; then they gingerly spirited away the soil--under microscopes, I imagine-- and counted and measured all the roots and root hairs.  In four months the plant had set forth 378 miles of roots--that's about three miles a day--in 14 million distinct roots.  This is might impressive, but when they get down to the root hairs, I boggle completely.  In those same four months the rye plant created 14 billion root hairs, and those little strands placed end-to-end just about wouldn't quit.  In a single cubic inch of soil, the length of the root hairs totaled 6000 miles.

That's a lot of roots.  No wonder I'm having sewer problems.  Six thousand miles of roots in a spoonful of dirt.  By my calculations, that would be three round-trips to China in roots that were clogging my sewer today.  Or, to put it in bamboo terms, strap me down and stab me now.

Saint Marty dealt with a lot of shit today.

Even chickens have bad days

1 comment:

  1. Omg, yes! Some days adulting just sucks and there's no way around it.