It began with this.
I had never actually seen a European water chestnut (Trapa natans) “nutlet” until a few months ago. I knew of their tenacity from friends at the Audubon Nature Center in Jamestown, NY who have been diligently working to eradicate them by hand pulling the plants over a matter of years. These tenacious little beasts are so brilliantly adapted to propagate, they are wickedly difficult to triumph over. They are an invasive species, and choke waterways, lakes and ponds throughout the Northeast.
And that is exactly what I saw when I first was shown a nutlet–a little beast, a dangerous, ouchy thing. With a dark, burnished exterior and devilishly sharp prongs springing from its surface, it looked to me like nothing less than the head of a frightening black bull, or a disturbing pagan mask used in ritual to evoke fear or awe. I couldn’t stop thinking about the creature that I could see in it. I knew what I had to do.
If you’d like to learn more about the European water chestnut and how you can help prevent its spread, visit here — New York Invasive Species Information
Audubon Nature Center actively recruits volunteers for its water chestnut pull in the fair weather months. Find out more here — Jamestown Audubon Nature Center
Have you ever felt compelled to transform or rework a natural object into something that projects its essence in a new way? If so, please share.