Wednesday, August 19, 2009
If you recall from my last post, I’m from Philadelphia. I didn’t learn of kudzu, a tenacious climbing vine, until I had friends living in Asheville, North Carolina, where the stuff runs roughshod. It should come as no surprise then that a kudzu Jesus has been discovered in Raleigh, North Carolina, visible from the Boylan Avenue Bridge, close to train tracks.
What’s really interesting about this story is how it originated on the blog Goodnight, Raleigh! and then became a news item, thanks to the North Raleigh News.
Goodnight, Raleigh! is “a look at the art, architecture, history, and people of the city at night.” John Morris, one of the blog’s regular contributors, was out on the bridge one night talking trains with friends when a pub patron ambled by and pointed out how the kudzu running along wires takes on the appearance of outstretched arms, a la the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.
Morris writes of the form that it is “merely a coincidental growth formation on power lines, but can still be an interesting topic of conversation.”
One man’s coincidence is another man’s human interest story, however. Writing for the North Raleigh News, Josh Shaffer came at the overgrowth from a slightly different angle: “He snakes up a utility pole, forming a majestic trunk and a head seemingly bowed in prayer or agony. A pair of arms appears to spread along the wires in each direction, inviting the world into a leafy embrace.” Shaffer even discussed the topic with Pete Surrette, who happened to walk “past with ketchup-stained pants and a Ziploc bag full of toiletries.” Says Surrette: "He's got the outstretched arms and everything. I walk these tracks and never noticed it. It was just a bush to me."
Isn’t that what Moses said?
Here’s more on Surrette as reported by Shaffer:
As he muses on its resemblance to the Lamb of God, Surrette mentions that he spent nine years behind bars for attacking a man with a garden rake. If the Kudzu Jesus turned around, he could see the window of the very cell in Central Prison where Surrette served his sentence.
But the mysterious bush keeps its gaze fixed straight ahead, vine-made eyes on the path where Surrette is strolling away, offering shelter from a hard world.
If only that rake were still around, I bet Surrette could get himself a landscaping gig down there by the tracks.