Flowering Knotweed

Biking in Stowe this afternoon, my daughter and I passed enormously large thickets of Japanese knotweed, blooming with tiny, delicate flowers – an invasive I studiously avoid. No knotweed rooting on my terrain!

I was reminded of a line from Sophocles my father mentioned this summer: Nothing great enters the life of mortals without a curse. Biking fast to keep up with my 11-year-old, darting around tykes on training wheels and a contingency of strollers, I thought of that phrase’s inverse. I’ve always been particularly annoyed by the adage to squeeze lemons into lemonade, as if an impromptu tea party solves anything, but might a curse also have a slender thread of goodness?

Poor Japanese knotweed: so maligned and despised in my Vermont world. In a profusion of flowers, I bent near and inhaled its sweet fragrance, the petals trembling with pollinators.

Poverty’s child –
he starts to grind the rice,
and gazes at the moon.

– Matsu Bashō

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Stowe, Vermont