Here I am among the trees behind my house, battling grapevine that wants to swallow my wooded suburban lot. Because of ticks and snakes and thorny things, I do wear clothes.
Last summer I went through and cut at ground level the many sorts of climbing vines. Then I pulled down leafy, twisty, twiny stuff clogging the treetops. Most of what grew back this year is chastened and controllable. Except grapevine. She leaped out of the earth and smothered the forest floor. So now I am pulling in the opposite direction, pulling her up by the roots. At every place where I chopped her last summer, SIX new roots burrow off in all directions.
She is fecund, lusty, darkly irrational and blindly reactionary. She activates my inner hero. The fight fills me with wordless joy. What is this gender-fluid role-playing? Why does it feel so good to do battle, knowing I will never win?
Heracles cauterized the Hydra’s neck stumps with fire, so he is the inspiration for how, when I find a thick vine, I decapitate her and paint her with poison. Heracles killed the final head with a “pitiless bronze sword,” but I haven’t found one yet at Lowe’s.