The Adventures of Alan – Invinecible
The greatest threat to our continued survival on this planet comes through the destruction of our environment. This is an undeniable fact. Collectively, we humans have disrupted the delicate equilibrium of biological ecosystems across the globe through rapid industrial development and, as a result, have set ourselves against the most powerful force in the known universe: nature. It is awesome and beautiful, terrible and destructive and if we do not find ways to redress the balance, the consequences for us all could be dire.
It’s a critical point to make and I know, firsthand, that nature’s fightback has already begun. I’m not talking floods and famine, storms and drought here. I didn’t see it on Planet Earth. No. I’m talking about something more personal, a more immediate threat literally growing in my own backyard: a garden vine of an unknown origin. It’s hostile, it’s out of control and I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about it.
It was here before I moved in, my initial guess was that the landlord planted it presumably because it looked nice. But given that the thing has cracked a paving slab and grown through it, up and all across the wall, I’m beginning to suspect that he simply tried to suppress it, incurred its leafy wrath, and kept the conflict quiet until I’d signed along the dotted line.
“Ok, so that’s everything sorted. You can reach me on this number so sign here and we’re done. Oh and by the way, there’s this Jumanji plant out the back that grows so rapidly, if you spend longer than twenty minutes outside hanging your washing, it will attempt to strangle you and drag you into an early grave. K bye!”
What I’ve essentially got down there is the biological equivalent of an extreme cable knot you’d find behind your TV. The difference being that electric cables don’t grow hundreds of tiny cables capable of suffocating small animals. It’s tried to occupy the neighbour’s yard on several occasions and they’ve got a newborn over there.
You might be thinking ‘just rip it out then, drama queen’ like it’s that simple. This thing is more resilient than any plant I’ve ever seen. It drinks Roundup like cheap vodka. It’s the Obi-Wan Kenobi of garden vines. Strike it down and it becomes more powerful than you could possibly imagine. Besides, my gardening is amateurish at best (too much Alan not enough Titchmarsh) and, frustratingly, when it flowers they’re intricate and beautiful and the bees love it. We’ve all got to do our bit for the bees, right? They’ve got a lot on as it is.
In the face of actual global climate change (which is a fact even in this ‘post-truth’ world), maybe I’m overstating the problem a smidge but, if nothing else, this vine is a daily reminder/headache of the relentless, ruthless and incredible force that nature can be and I’ve got no choice but to respect that.
Because, lets face it, in the post-apocalypse, when I’ve been abducted by Wasteland Raiders you can guarantee that vine will still be there, still growing and surviving.
Written by Alan Hancock
Illusration by Peter Clayton