"Catastrophe studies — a field with a busy future."

March 25, 2012

Catastrophe studies — a field with a busy future.”

“I saw a possum in the backyard the other day,” Terrence said. “Its teeth were about this big. I killed it with a stick. It was coming toward me, so I hit him. He just flipped over. I stayed inside after that.” There have been sightings of armadillos, coyotes, owls, hawks, falcons and even a four-foot alligator, drinking from a leaky fire hydrant. Rats have been less of a problem lately because of the stray cats and the birds of prey. But it’s not just animals that emerge from the weeds. “Sometimes I see people coming out of there,” Terrence said, pointing at the ruins of two houses, shrouded in weeds, across the street. “They’re trying to get in my home.”

“After the tractor finishes its circuit, two men stroll through the lot waving weed trimmers, the gasoline-powered machines used for residential lawn cutting. They resemble a fencing foil, only the tip culminates in a small mechanical spool that spins roughly a hundred times per second.” Ahh, the New York Times, the only place in the world where it is assumed more people are familiar with fencing foils than with weed whackers.