January 16, 2005

Hallowed Halls

The ivy crept over the house, a green plague, relentless. The house, that human construct lay beneath, consumed. Some looking would call it quaint, ivy covered halls, hallowed halls. I called it death, a slow strangulation, a suffocation within the leafy legion. Its progression was incremental, measured in inches, brick by brick, one crumbled mortar joint at a time, a progression if not quite sapient, then certainly malevolent in its indifference.

I dreamt I dwelt in hallowed halls, ivy covered halls, dreams of greenness, of decay. Think you green is life and spring and rebirth. No, it feeds, it feeds on us, our constructs and fabrications. Green is the predator and we its prey.

Each year, in spring, I stripped it from the walls. Patiently, carefully detaching the delicate tendrils, the creepers, that had wound themselves into the walls, insinuated themselves into the mortar rendering what had bound the brick into structure, instead into crumbling ruin. I started gently, as if extricating my hand from that of a child or lover and ended by madly hacking at the trunk. Seeking to sever the main vine and end it all, abruptly, completely.

Each spring I free the house by tearing away the green. Red brick emerges, rich and earthy. The windows come alive with life and light, the eyes into a soul. But summer passes and fall comes, inexorably the ivy returns, the fine tendrils grow back, seeking, prying, invading. The light goes out, the life dies and dark within dark, the windows reflect only the emptiness inside.

Posted by anne duncan

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