Not long ago I noticed an interloper in my midst. It happened while I was walking up the stairs to my house. There once was a time when only those who belonged were in my pretty and homogenous surroundings. Today there is this uninvited visitor.
I pick my plants carefully. Only the “right” sort will do. I choose them for their colors and cold-hardiness, the contrast they’ll provide against other members of my garden.
In fact, the interloper is related to a plant I actually chose for my garden. In the spring I like to stock up on coleus, an annual in my zone. They have showy and beautiful leaves, some pink and green, some red, all unique depending on the variety. The only downside of my love for coleus is that they only live one year. I love them but they go away. I don’t cope well with abandonment, even by my plants.
So imagine my surprise when this little shoot sprang up between the second and third step of of my front stairs. How could a fragile annual have had enough chutzpah to throw up an enterprising little seed from some tidy planter and send it on a mission to colonize my steps?
I usually yank out trespassers. They shouldn’t grow in the cracks like that! They will bring destruction and their roots will cause an acceleration of the freezing and thawing phenomenon that will one day force me to summon a mason. But this cheeky sprout challenged me. It was so damn hopeful. Imagine the courage it takes to grow amongst bricks like that, cheerful and tenacious. I couldn’t be the one to stop it. Although I thought about it a few times, ultimately I couldn’t bring myself to pull the little seedling from its spot. I loved its spirit way too much. Now, I water it.
Can a plant be illegal? Can it be told where to stretch itself toward sunlight and yearn for its slice of heaven? Nope. No more than a person can.