I didn’t even make it down the driveway to dinner last night before I had to stop and take a picture of my yard. These white flowers are everywhere. They weren’t there the day before. I’ve never seen them in my yard before, which this time of year is made up of clover, creeping charlie and violets.

According to friends, this is an invasive species and I should dig it up. I’m not going to because they’re all over my front yard. But also, I’m starting to become uneasy with the idea of “invasive” species. I mean, except privet. Fuck that shit. Kill it with fire.

I have a friend who’s… hmm… if I use the correct terms for what she is, it might flag at her place of employment and I don’t want to get her in trouble. Let’s say she is a plant person for a very, very large institution and part of her job is figuring out what restoring the lands of this institution to their natural state would be. What would this place look like if no one had ever fucked with it?

And she is in an ongoing philosophical battle with her coworkers, because they believe that the land’s natural state is forest. And she’s like, how can a place we know was covered in thousands of buffalo and megafauna before that have been a forest? Clearly there must have been grasslands.

The trees are invasive species that took over once the buffalo herds were devastated.

That is, if you don’t put any stock in the research that suggests that financial pressures for certain types of hides–deer and mink and fox and rabbit over bison–caused the Native Americans to cultivate forests in formerly grass spaces.

Still, though, trees are invasive.

How do we decide what’s natural? Local? Non-invasive? I live in the flood plane of Whites Creek. I get weird things in my yard because it’s a low spot in the neighborhood and stuff runs down into my yard from wherever when the weather’s wet.

Everything that’s in my yard, on my land, that the water didn’t put here is not “supposed” to be here. If I decide to keep my land “natural,” my biases about what natural are at play.

Where I wanted smug certainty, I find only more complicated unknowing.