Dispatch № 93: Show-Runner

Weeds growing in the end of a train platform in Ome, Tokyo Prefecture

In cities, we try to put nature in a box, to contain it in parks and flowerpots so that we can keep it around in a way that is convenient for us. We attempt to get nature, plants especially, to bend to our will. And, to their credit, they mostly go along with the scheme.

Ultimately, though, you can’t control nature any more than you can teach a cat to tap dance.

So flowers sprout from concrete, moss occupies the damp shadows, and vines consume abandoned houses whole, shrouding them in green, with creeping tendrils invading every crack.

If humans were to collectively vanish overnight, nature would take over everything again with surprising speed.

Already, it is poised to do so. It’s clear to see in the leafy margins of urban spaces, where the work of keeping fresh growth at bay has been neglected.

As much as human arrogance leads us to believe that we’re in charge, we are not. We may fight against the natural world, but we are only successful in disrupting and fouling up the system.

Nature was running the show billions of years before we arrived, and it will still run it long after we have exited the stage.

In the meantime, it would behoove us to take a kinder, more cooperative approach in our relationship with nature, to the benefit of all beings involved, human and otherwise. This seems, unfortunately, to be a hard sell.