Erratics and Invasives

Acacia flowers.  A tree in our back yard, next to the tree house in an olive tree.  On the acacia:

For the same reasons it is favored as an erosion-control plant, with its easy spreading and resilience, some varieties of acacia, are potentially an invasive species. One of the most globally significant invasive Acacias is black wattle Acacia mearnsii, which is taking over grasslands and abandoned agricultural areas worldwide, especially in moderate coastal and island regions where mild climate promotes its spread. Australian/New Zealand Weed Risk Assessment gives it a “high risk, score of 15” rating and it is considered one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.[24] Extensive ecological studies should be performed before further introduction of acacia varieties as this fast-growing Genus, once introduced, spreads fast and is extremely difficult to eradicate.

Earlier this week I was inspired by a blog I discovered which includes a compilation of what the artist calls Erratics and Invasives–Glacial erratics, invasive species, and other erratic and invasive things.  A simple concept.  Pictures of rocks carried by glaciers throughout North America and invasive plants.  Things that are just out of place.  It really clicked with me as it’s in the same vein as what I’ve been experiencing lately.  Specifically, we’ve visited many interesting geological sites, studied them, and also learned about the plant species in the area, often seeing things that aren’t supposed to be there, if that’s even possible.

I’m particularly interested and inspired by geology due to the vast time scale represented.  Time too big to comprehend.  Throw in things like unconformities and erratics and it’s like salt and pepper on a juicy steak–it gets more interesting.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve encountered a boulder that just didn’t fit the scene.  I’d stop, look around and see there’s no other thing like it nearby, and ask myself, how the hell did this get here?  As a kid in Wyoming, I’ve seen plenty of this.  Now, such experiences are even more interesting because I’ve the maturity to know the value of the pause involved when hit with these discoveries:  It’s a moment to stop and think about just how short our time is here in relation to all that’s happened before we existed.  A boulder that traveled sometimes hundreds of miles on a sheet of ice, thousands, if not millions, of years ago, only to land here of all places?  And, it was just waiting here to be seen by me?  Right now?  Surrounded by shitty shopping malls and mouth breathing motorists?  It’s enough to turn one into a solipsist.

As mentioned in an earlier post, this weekend was beautiful.  Amazing weather enabling us to hang out in the tree house and work in the yard.  Here Jolene adds some sparkle to said tree house:

We originally planned to head up to the mountains, but the masses cut us off, taking up all possible places to stay.  We didn’t plan ahead.  Second choice was to visit the Western Pinnacles–the other side of Pinnacles we haven’t seen.  However, we became distracted and had other work to finish first.  Not enough time.  Instead, we took moments here and there to enjoy a great morning, have a good breakfast at the Southern Kitchen in Los Gatos, and play in the park.

Chas downtown:  “Jolene, are you listening?”

And, on the walk home, Chas takes every detour possible:

There will be time for another day out in the countryside, scanning for erratics, and in the meantime, there are plenty of invasives around to catch our attention.

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