At this time of year, many plants turn their energies toward reproduction. Just to the side of my garden sit three sugar maples who seem to be particularly intent upon making a fourth, fifth, and six hundredth sugar maple. It falls on me to sweep up the manifestation of their efforts from my garden paths – hundreds of perfect gliders, each with one maple seed.
The sheer number of them is staggering. At times, when the wind blows and shakes them loose from the tops of the trees or pushes them chaotically down from off of the roof, it looks like a swarm of spinning locusts intent upon a kudzu’s plan of world domination. “Is that snow?” Kyle asks and I have to agree; it does look like a blizzard, the air so thick with them that we can hack with our swords and destroy them in eddies of jedi wind.
The garden beds are piled with them, maple seed mulch, soon to be hairy with the green sprouts of trees to be. I can sweep them away, I can pluck them one by one by the thousands and still there are more. It’s exasperating and fascinating at the same time. What amazing patience we would need to have watched the evolution of this natural wing, weighted perfectly and it’s veiny wood angled just right to allow it to be carried on the same wind that finally coaxes it away from it’s fostering branches – scattered a few feet or hundreds of feet to fall into years and years of composting leaves from the same parent, generations of familiar genes that welcome it to the ground to begin again.
How infuriating! How frustrating to stand beneath a pelting rain of them, all the while picking, picking a patch clear beneath it all. How staggering! How humbling! How perfectly fulfilled!
How.. .much Thoreau have I read? Whatever. These things are cool.