Tuesday, October 23, 2007

home is where the soil is

Usually, when people talk about "new forms of life" appearing in their apartments, they're referring to a plate left in the sink too long which begins to grow a new layer of fuzz. But today, I discovered a new kind of life on my porch, which I totally didn't expect to see.

I was sitting outside because it was a beautiful windy day, the type which flips the leaves backwards and allows the falling leaves to dance wildly in the air before surrendering to gravity. I was doing my readings (attached to a clipboard so they woudn't fly away) and I happened to look down at the porch itself. It's made of wood, with small cracks in between the panels of wood. We had a bird feeder out that had a run-in with a storm, and the seed dispersed everywhere. Because of lack of a broom and general laziness, we never really bothered to clean up the seed. (It's natural anyway, right?)

So today, to my surprise I see sunflower sprouts in the cracks! They accumulated a little bit of soil from sand and seed husks to make a home for themselves. They look regularly spaced, too, which is purely coincidental but neat just the same. My only regret is that it is not summer so I could see them grow - I think that the next frost may wipe them out.

I looked at them and I thought about what I'd been learning about community succession - its all about opportunity, and being in the right place at the right time. These guys had the right combination of lazy roommates, randomly occurring conditions, plentiful rain and sunlight, and low traffic so they wouldn't get trampled. Yet they and a few other sprouts are content right where they are. That's succession for you.

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