Day Twenty-Six: She Stoops to Conquer

Lucy Weir
2 min readAug 7, 2022

The knotweed had a sign: Do Not Cut! Invasive Species!

Don’t recall, she thought. Don’t go backwards into that dark night. Stay here. “Hey. How long’s the sign been here?”

“The council put it up, about a year ago. You mean you never noticed?”

“Well, it was high summer when I was here before and maybe, if you didn’t cut it, it was covered over with Japanese Knotweed.”

“Possible. And possible you’re just not very observant.”

“Possible I was distracted… what does the council do about it, since they don’t want you to do anything?”


“What? You’ve got this organic, biodiversity-focused, educational arts centre, and you’re letting them spray a known carcinogen?”

“That’s what they do. Who am I to question the wisdom of the state?”

“Well, aren’t there any other ways to deal with it?”

“Yeah. If I lived here all the time, which I don’t, as you know, I could keep chickens. I asked Paul if he’d look after them while I’m away but he’s old, he’s got family to deal with, he shrugged but I didn’t push it. Apparently you can burn it back in winter with a flamethrower, then put a chicken run over the ground in the spring. They love the new shoots. Do that for a couple of seasons and it’s possible you could get rid of it. There’s also the notion of digging it up and burying it somewhere but you’d have to contain it in something, so you have the same issue of introducing synthetics, probably plastics, into the soil. And other than that, it’s RoundUp all the way.”

“Shit. It’s so … ironic, I suppose.”

“Yep. And the other ironic thing, given what we’ve all just been through, is that there are fantastic traditional uses, health uses, for the stuff. It’s used for bronchial issues, lung tissue repair. It’s used as a vegetable in East Asian cuisine. It’s got all kinds of therapeutic uses in restoring cognitive function and so in things like dementia. It’s got resveratrol and other compounds that have been linked to reducing inflammation.”

“That’s significant.”

“Yeah. It seems the plant produces these compounds which other plants only produce after they’ve been stressed. It’s anticipatory. That’s why it’s such a good survivor. And why it’s so beneficial. But … I’m not allowed to cut it, so I can’t try it out.”

“That’s even more ironic.”

“I know. This is the great koan in which we live.” He sighed and looked at the space between the trees where the sun had dipped. It was getting cold.

“Ha ha. Let’s go and have a drink. Wine’s got resveratol in it too, hasn’t it?”

“Resveratrol. Resveratrol. And in therapeutic quantities. Not until you black out.” He looked at her for a moment, frowning.

“If I’m unconscious, I can’t feel pain.”

“Hmm. Come in.”

Don’t imagine. Don’t think. Don’t examine. Don’t control.


Lucy Weir

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