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|