Defying the odds

I like the underdog. There’s something about beating the odds that makes a satisfying story.

Today’s example is from an unusual place … but first a little background. My relationship with plants is complicated. Perhaps it’s because I’m constantly looking for maximum results with minimal effort. I like it when the plants I enjoy grow without too much fuss. Coming to think of it, I have spent more energy trying to destroy unwanted plants competing with the chosen ones. Despite an arsenal of chemicals, oddly shaped tools and reams of black plastic, the little varmints continue to poke up their green heads in absolute defiance.

After decades of mixed results in my weed war, I walked inside the Kilauea Iki Crater on Hawaii’s Big Island. The first thing I saw was black rock, lots of it, with huge tracts uninterrupted by any plants whatsoever. The remarkable thing is that these areas have been plant free since 1959 when they were covered by a sea of molten lava.

Every once in a while I found an extremely resilient plant that somehow found a toehold in a crack. Equally improbable is that it’s a beautiful plant. I have no doubt if I covered our back yard with molten lava, the first plant to crack the rock’s surface would be an ugly dandelion.

Today I salute one hardy, beautiful plant – defying the odds in an unexpected place. The more I look the more I find. 

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