Friday, May 16, 2014

Nature Wants Your House Back

Not my house.  At least, not yet.

Homeownership is about nothing if not vigilance.

When you buy a house, the bank wants its mortgage payments and the county its property taxes.

These are minor matters in the larger scheme, however.  The real challenge is this:  Nature wants your house back.  Over the long term, nature will win.

Some years back, the Significant Other and I bought a newly built house.

The first time a big rain blew through, water pushed under the sill of a slider door and left a puddle on the living room floor.   I ordered a piece of lumber cut to fit the space, nailed it in and caulked it all around.

Then another big windstorm came along and ripped a bunch of shingles off the roof.  I called a roofer and had them replaced.

Next, a couple of skunks dug their way under the house one night.  They got in a fight, and one of them died.  I called a pest control company to remove the carcass and a handyman to build a barrier at the skunks' access point.

I planted climbing hydrangeas that grew so well they started covering the windows.  I cut the hydrangeas back; they returned the next year.  I applied herbicide; two years, later the hydrangeas returned again.  As usual, nature had won.

Nature owns the world.  We humans are just squatters.

I think about this sometimes, like when I see pictures of Detroit houses whose owners have moved on.

In fact, it happens all over the country.  Here is a house that nature is reclaiming in Aberdeen, N.J.

And here is a house in the American South that is being swallowed by kudzu.

Below is a pioneer homestead cabin built in 1906 and abandoned during the Great Depression.  Structures like these, all rendered unlivable, dot the prairies, the Dakotas, Montana and portions of Canada.

Nature has won, and humans, knowing their defeat, cannot muster the energy to tear down the little that remains.

No matter.  In time, nature will see to that.

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