Monday, July 05, 2004

Momento mori

posted by Chet at 7:34 AM UTC

One of the joys of this place -- the Dingle Peninsula in the west of Ireland -- is the profusion of antiquities: abandoned villages, Medieval castles, early Christian ecclesiastical sites, Iron Age forts, Stone Age tombs and stone alignments.

The bane of anyone who visits these places is stinging nettles. Brush a bare arm or leg against these bristly plants and your skin will sting for hours.

Nettles thrive on phosphate-rich soil and human settlements provide phosphates in abundance, especially from ash and bones. Old graveyards are nettle heavens.

Villages abandoned hundreds of years ago push up nettles even where the original buildings have vanished. Phosphates linger long in non-acidic soils.

Every time I get a rash I curse the dead.