There were survivors on St. Pierre Island, Maryland, after the blast: burrowers, living under the earth – these, mammals and amphibians; saplings, bent back by the burst but unbroken; and, flowering plants, pushing up through ash now instead of snow.
Then there were the colonisers: beetles, other insects – blow-ins, which languished for years before breeding populations could be established; larger mammals, their hooves breaking through the ash and mixing it with soil, making it nutrient rich; and, seeds, carried by wind to settle in this new mire.
And, behind the scenes, seething, in the water, the microbes: first, the aerobes – using up the oxygen; then the anaerobes – requiring none; then the exotic ones, the nitrogen-consumers and those that feed on methane and heavy metals.
Phytoplankton begat zooplankton begat insects begat frogs which begat trout. Though the frogs had the numbers & the horses the might, to this morass came I, middle class – apostate & sugar-free – with a proper bourgeois heart thumping self-righteously in my chest. Here to fish.
inside the radius
Written on Sunday, 16 May 2010