plants growing through asphalt

This has been making me smile recently. On my way in to work, either walking from home or in the hike in from the parking lot, I traverse a small back street. In addition to the ignominy of not being a main thoroughfare, this street doesn’t have houses on it, just the back of an apartment complex.

So this street gets ignored, and it shows. The street surface is a mess, and the sidewalk was even worse. However, the apartment building residents are seniors, and for a number of them, exercise equals a stroll around the block. The heaved slabs and crumbling concrete of the sidewalk was dangerous for them.

Last fall a city crew came out and resurfaced the sidewalk. They laid asphalt and rolled it, then came back a week or so later and repeated the process. Voila, smoother, safer sidewalk surface.

Except they didn’t clean off the old sidewalk terribly well before resurfacing, it would seem. This spring, once things started to warm up, in assorted spots on the sidewalk, tiny heaves kept appearing, and within a few days, the bits of asphalt would fall back to reveal… weeds. Some grass, mostly dandelions, all less than an inch tall.

There are dozens of these spots along that one-block stretch of sidewalk. In some places, the plants would have had to grow/break through a couple of inches of asphalt. (Not to mention surviving the heat and toxicity of it being laid down in the first place.)

It gives me a small amount of hope. Mother Nature is still there, waiting. And given a chance, or given the need, she can find it pretty damned easy to push us aside.

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