Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August 2: Generosity of Spirit, Triffids, Horror Movies

John Cowper Powys said, "We have no reason for denying to the world of plants a certain slow, dim, vague, large, leisurely semi-consciousness." He may not be right, but I like his adjectives.  The batch of bluets in the grass may not be long on brains, but it might be, at least in a very small way, awake.  The trees especially seem to bespeak a generosity of spirit.  I suspect that the real moral thinkers end up, wherever they may start, in botany.  We know nothing for certain, but we seem to see that the world turns upon growing, grows toward growing, and growing green and clean.

Plants with semi-consciousness.  Dillard even grants the bluets and trees spirit and generosity.  What are the trees giving away?  Oxygen, maybe.  Green shade in the dog days of August, where there's no wind and the sun is punishing.  Certainly, in those conditions, shade seems like generosity.  But sentient plant life?

As a kid, I loved science fiction and horror movies.  One of my favorites was called The Day of the Triffids.  It entailed a meteor shower, the blinding of the human race, and six-foot-tall plants hell bent on eating people and animals.  It was every kid's nightmare--killer vegetables.  I have never been a fan of broccoli or brussells sprouts, and this movie proved how dangerous they actually were.

Of course, now that I am an adult, I have grown accustomed to greenery.  While I don't sit down and eat salad on a regular basis, I do like a good stir fry every now and then.  I can choke down baby carrots and, in a pinch, celery slathered thickly with peanut butter.  However, my consumption of vegetables is purely for self preservation.  I want to eat them before they eat me. 

I know that the possibility of a meteor shower turning the produce section at Walmart into a triffid war zone is not very realistic.  However, the word "triffid" has now become a colloquialism for large, menacing-looking plants.  Any large, menacing-looking plants.  I used to have thistles growing in front of my house.  Big, purple flower balls with menacing leaves that attracted all manner of stinging insects--wasps and bees and yellow jackets.  They were my triffids.

Why am I telling you all this?  I don't know.  I was flipping through my copy of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and happened upon the above passage.  It, in turn, reminded me of the low-budget horror movie from my childhood, which made me think of brussels sprouts, which dug up memories of those damn thistles.  Triffids, triffids everywhere.

That's Saint Marty's wisdom for this evening:  vegetables will kill you, given the chance.

Don't feed the plants!

1 comment:

  1. Traumatized by veggies as a child; another insight into the creation of a great poetic mind.