Last weekend I was at my mountain redoubt prepping the place for spring…getting rid of leaves that had blown in since the Great Fall Incineration of last year’s leaves…digging up rocks for various walls and borders…and picking up trash that had found its way onto the property.
As I was doing that I came across this glass jar…
Who knows how long it had been buried under the leaf litter but I certainly hadn’t put it there. Oddly enough, as the jar was intact and the lid was on, as you can see there was some greenery in there. The lid had rusted to the point that a very small hole had appeared and, I assume, enough flotsam and jetsam had made it’s way through that hole to actually start the process of life.
I was in for an even bigger surprise (Hey, it was a slow day. Give me a break.) when I opened the lid and found this…
The poor mans eco-sphere.
So not only was there enough in the jar to sustain some puny plant life but there must have been sufficient animal life entering that tiny hole (about the size of the letter ‘O’ printed on your keyboard) to sustain this critter.
It all seems highly improbable to me and so I suspect a secret government experiment of some sort. Or, perhaps this is what’s left of NASA’s science budget in lieu of their recent budget woes.
Although I will say this. Despite the apparent lushness of my fortress of solitude it’s a rather ruthless place as far as foreign flora and fauna go. The soil is such that if new plants do manage to take root amongst the omnipresent slate rocks and poor soil, local weeds, insects and animals will quickly move in and devour them. It reminds me quite a bit of the Deathworld series by Harry Harrison. Most flowering or fruiting plants will die of fright at the checkout counter if they catch wind of where they’re intended to be planted.
The only two exceptions to that rule I’ve found so far are deer (which are native but local mismanagement have allowed them to officially reach ‘pestilence of biblical proportion’ stage and so deserve mention here – In fact I’d swear you can hear them whisper “I am become Death, destroyer of worlds” as they munch away.) and red current bushes which actually seem to thrive in these harsh conditions and resist pests.