ericamerylthomas [at] gmail [dot] com


Added on by Erica Thomas.

It may seem obvious, but really, where do our bodies end? With our skin? Our breath escaping for a few inches and then becoming part of the air around us? Was that air that we borrowed for our breath part of our body for a second or two? Does this energy I capture from sun’s rays into my garden bed, into my plants, into my mouth, into my stomach, feeding me? Or is it feeding the microorganisms swimming around inside by belly? Are those rays not part of my body? Where does the edge lie? Physics tells me that the atoms making up the contents of my body’s largest organ, my skin, the leaves in my canopy that acquire my vitamin D, my own antidepressant photosynthesis, bind together to repel the outside. But look closely at the tiny perforations, entryways of acceptance. I carry the fragrance of campfire or sweat or other bodies, which changes as I wear it.

Under the overpass of the 405 bridge there is a hillside made almost entirely of ivy. This interruption of the pavement is something of a willful resistance, a shutting out of the “natural” world. In these in-between places, disruption by invasive plants and animals takes over. It reminds us who’s really in charge. The breeze falls down from the passing semi trucks, fluttering the waxy deepgreen leaves like the rippling surface of a lake.  A few dandelions manage to interrupt the wall of ivy with their sunny smiling flowers, unknowingly they propagate more and more. At this site, where once there may have been ferns and moss at the feet of ancient evergreen, Doug Fir, Western Red Cedar, there is a boundary in layers. Man made, political, invented. Invisible to the prolific sparrow stowaways on English ships that carried them here hundreds of years ago. They don’t know boundaries. Just the same, the doctors in scrubs, and nervous families of hospital patients pouring out of streetcars, smokers in the rain shadow of the bridge, pay no mind to why there is greenery there, in spite of this temperate rain misting the pavement, but not the sheltered plants.