The city-tundra cannot breach greenhouse wall. Cycads grow here, aroids, bromeliads, vanilla vine and other plants that would not be able to survive frost. They have veins and arteries like you, but with different names. Phloa and xyla transport glucose from leaves and water from roots. You sit on a conservatory bench and look at the dormant things outside. They’re not dead – this you know from a tree branch, reaching over iron fence on walk home from a bus stop – red spots beginning to bud. Imagine yourself in photosynthesis, absorbing nutrients from the sun like the plants in this vaulting room. You’ve been feeling a certain way, you suppose, not unlike the rainforests feel in the Amazon, the Congo or Borneo. Plant veins are not too different from your own veins, bark not too different from skin.
The people you know (including you) struggling against conquest are not too different from endangered species taking refuge under dwindling canopies. You push yourself off the bench and amble towards desert plants in their beige-stoned room. Thick limbs of cacti and agave evolved to retain water in arid climates so that, when rain is scarce, the plant survives. You pause to speculate these plants might understand survival better than you. They quench animal thirst in exchange for pollination. Humans have forgotten how to grow with the sun, how to ally with bees and butterflies, how to recall ancient languages. You want to talk about the sago palm and how it won’t survive without the jungle and how you’ll suffocate without the sago palm’s oxygen. Visualize the pit in your gut as a long-dormant seed, pushing against walls – spring is coming, and your small plot in the ground is not the only one that needs watering.
“spathiphyllum in civitatem.” 2017. Photography, pen and photo editor. See more of my work in the gallery.