If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
E. O. Wilson
A couple of weeks ago I spotted a hobblebush on the side of the Bog Road on the back end of my hometown. I have lived here over thirty years and mostly I am used to seeing old washing machines and tv sets tossed along the edges of the local woods. Eventually I let the woods go by in a blur on my way to the bog. But it turns out the woods have changed over the years. I just hadn’t noticed. The remains of the same very ancient tube tv are still there in the same ditch but the edge has actually grown up nicely. Nature always fights her way back eventually.
One day on our way back from our regular visits to the bog to see what we could see, I spotted a hobblebush in full bloom. Wham. I yelled out – STOP. And then – BACK UP. As I leapt out of the car – I hear a grumbling sigh behind me but I was on a mission, camera in hand. It was indeed a hobblebush – on the side of the Bog Road in Troy, Maine.
I am in love with what I find on the edges, the transition zones, the ecotones. I even remember the old tv in the ditch. So when I spotted a patch of jack in the pulpit hidden under an old battered Spruce, I danced for joy. That spruce had gotten strangled by porcelainberry. I actually was responsible for the invasion. I planted the pretty exotic Southern vine thinking it would die back hard and never spread. Once we cut out the porcelainberry from the underbelly I just left it alone. Several years later a generous patch of Jack in the Pulpit has appeared. My new take on gardening is not gardening. Pull out the bad mistakes and see what happens. Well – jack in the pulpit happened.
Back to the hobblebush, I was so excited to spot the it. A few days later I went back to locate it again and get more shots. On first sweep I could not spot it. Bill created a plan.I checked the photos for time stamp and calculated it was about 3 minutes from the edge of the bog where I had been photographing a basking turtle going 20 miles an hour. Nothing. We changed our speed. We changed our route. The bush was not to be found. It had vanished. By now the blooms are long gone and if it is there it has blended into the surrounding woods. I am still perplexed and a little sad. After years of seeing only abandoned refrigerators and deer carcasses – finally a beautiful hobblebush, and now it is gone.