Tuesday, February 5, 2008

It starts: perennials, annuals, and my stone patio

This started when we moved to the burbs. Our house could suck up a whole day of work for something like a 4 by 4 foot cube of improvement. Out in the garden, I started pushing for ALL perennials, plants that come back year after year. My wife wanted lots of annuals. They grow bigger and better flowers and she argued "so what if you have to replant new ones every year, we like gardening anyway."

In marriage you pick your battles, so I simply moved to something else. I started to work on the landscape, and particularly, a stone patio. Solid stone with a proper rock base. That would last winter after winter. Then I saw this show on National Geographic Channel. It reminded me that pretty much the moment humans disappear, everything we've ever built starts to crumble - even stone. The more interested in this I got, the more I found the universe has even more ways to break it down (more on that to come).

It took me a while to figure out the significance of this simple desire to do something that would LAST. I grew up knowing full well the Biblical story of the Tower of Babel. The first story of hubris, the limits of human ambition, or humans trying to become like God even. But of course, my stone patio was hardly some skyscraper ode to "progress." But then again, if ALL of the stuff we ever do -- art, science, engineering, commerce, reason, whatever-- is all temporary, then is it all just ramblings? And more importantly, why do we keep doing it? What does that signify?

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