I spent all of this morning in the Student Center at Keene State College meeting individually with writing students to discuss their essay drafts. This afternoon, though, I did have a brief opportunity to sneak around campus taking surreptitious pictures.

I’ve already mentioned my habit of color-collecting: the practice of picking a specific color, taking a walk, and consciously noticing every place you see that color. On some days I go color-collecting; on others, I seek out a particular shape or texture. Today as I took a quick jaunt around campus, camera in hand, I was looking for ivy.

Normally I’d call climbing plants vines, not ivy…but the mystique of the Ivy League is contagious. Keene State College isn’t Ivy League, but her campus is crawling with ivy-like vines. Surely that counts for something, doesn’t it?

Ecologists term “invasive” those exotic plants which crowd out native species and thus endanger the biodiversity of a habitat. In my mind, though, I picture “invasive plants” as being herbs gone bad–literal bad seeds–that rebelliously leap from their trellises and bust out of their flowerpots, their chlorophyll hearts set on troublemaking. The imp in me delights in the fanciful notion that these vines might have a similarly devilish sentience, that they are peeking into the windows they crowd as they scheme ways of wriggling their cellulose selves into corners where they’d not normally belong.

Be careful what you say or do: the walls might not have ears, but they’re leafy with life, and listening.