I don’t think I’m the first person to quizzically stroke my chin and ask why a dandelion is a weed an a daisy a flower. We all know why dandelions are reviled: it’s because they can’t be controlled. They grow all over your lawn, they grow up through the cracks in your patio, in fact they will take hold nearly anywhere a dandelion seed lands. But the very qualities that make a dandelion a nuisance are revered in people: strength, persistence, tenacity, virility. And what about roses, orchids, and the flowers that we love the most? They are worshipped for the incredibly narrow set of circumstances required for their survival. Humans above all else value weakness and submission in our plants. We like plants that do what they’re told. Even the plants that we desperately want to grow, we hack at their limbs the moment they get too big for their pot.
There is another way to see plants. You must understand that we, the collective human consciousness, are in a war of attrition with the cosmos. We like straight lines and golf greens and shining skyscrapers and white paint. Yet like an anthill on a windy day, we build things up and the universe tears them down. Plants are the foot soldiers in this battle, making cracks in the pavement, reclaiming the walls of old buildings, and taking hold anywhere there’s an opening. If you don’t constantly mow your lawn it will take over, trees and bushes untrimmed grow until they are stopped, even your books, the food you left out, and your own feet begin to grow if you don’t take care. Because life is what you make it, why not take on a more synchronous approach to nature. Feel the long grass between your toes and contemplate that long after the human species has gone extinct, plants will grow over our graves, consume our monuments, and bury the detritus of our civilization under a squishy layer of peat. When everything and everyone that you’ve ever thought was important is gone, grass and vines and trees will clean up after our little social experiment. Like the tortoise and the hare, we think we can win. We have pruning sheers and lawnmowers and can kill any unwelcome plant that shows its face in our yard, our little corner of the world. But when you drop dead the plants will eat you and use the nutrients you’ve spent your life collecting to make new leaves and new seeds and new plants. In our frame reference we might be showing the plants who’s boss, but in the planet’s frame of reference we are a joke, a blip, a minor inconvenience. So I say let em grow! Why fight the battles when you already know you’ll lose the war?