“What do you like?”
This guy I was doing an English camp with, right before I left for America in August, hit me with a tough one. I wasn’t exactly Mr Positive at that point; I’ll spare you the details ’cause you’ve heard ’em all before. Fortunately he had plenty of positive to go around.
“What do you mean — music?”
“No, I mean about Korea. What do you like about Korea?” He had a Korean wife and was a little defensive, even though they were themselves on the verge of escaping to America and new lives far from any middle school English classroom.
Without hesitation, I answered: “The insects. And the flowers.”
I never thought of myself as an insect-lover (?) till I got here — so, thanks, Korea.
For much of the year my neighbourhood is a ramshackle sprawl of unkempt borders, overgrown embankments, feral verges, weedy pavements and Amazonian vacant lots. Right up until November the insects owned the place. Only Winter kills the exuberance.
I can’t decide if Koreans are among the world’s best gardeners or the worst. They’re certainly not ones for tidiness, symmetry or order. They like to just shove all the junk and rubble and trash and shit to the side, leave it there in a big pile, and start tilling the bare earth right next to it. They’re not ones for what you might call the decorative touch. I’ve watched piles of garbage grow into mountains. They make excellent pumpkin patches.
My former vice-principal told me she’d been to Switzerland and found it too neat and boring. At the time I thought she was crazy. Well, I still do, but for different reasons — I can almost get her point now. I find the raggedness here wearisome, the sloppy attention to detail aggravating — but the insects like it, and consequently, up to a point, so do I.
Today’s’ shots are from July, back in the humid, buggy Summer. I got the #21 into Gimhae and was walking to a light-rail station past a huge vacant lot — no doubt destined for the bulldozer — behind a green fence. Weeds and long grass and vines and escapee perennials were in raging bloom inside. I spotted a cool critter through the wire, and then another; ended up walking that perimeter for half an hour, trying to focus through the gaps.
I don’t remember where I was going that day, but I remember the thriving jungle Behind the Green Fence…
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote