Thursday, May 1, 2008

Helicoptor Seeds



Astonishing to realize how many trees could dig in and start growing each spring, if the city wasn't so paved over. Because there's no ground for the seeds to root into, they stick to windshields, clog the gutters, gather in between the bricks on the pavements.

Soft rains and breezes during the last few days have set loose at least a zillion helicoptor tree seeds. When they fall, it's always a bunch of them all at once. They fall in a flurry, as if someone in the tree had released a huge fistful of confetti. Who doesn't love watching them descend, each seed spinning around and around? The descent of the helicoptor seeds is as dazzling as the fluttering cherry blossoms, though not nearly as delicate.

Can you imagine how many times I've tried to capture this magical phenomenon with the vid camera? My timing is always off, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Yesterday I decided that it's silly to try. Better to stand still, open my eyes and enjoy the moment instead.

I wonder what is the botanical name of these seeds? Are they elm, maple? Could they be oak seeds? Wait, oaks release acorns, so it couldn't be the oaks. Though I'm not sure which tree produces the clouds of helicoptor blades, I do connect deeply with the energy of this phenomenon. L'chaim, ya'all. Oh yeah!

12 comments:

IntangibleArts said...

Real botanical name? Bah! They've always been humble 'helicopters' to me.

And our neighbor's tree was so intensely pregnant with the things, it looks like our backyard was covered by a beige snowstorm. It is, indeed, awesome.

.....also quite mesmerizing for young Gomez, who adores the flying things as only a boxer can--with complete laser-beam focus. Until they hit the ground, whereupon they become boring as hell, and he moves on.

.....another life-lesson there, perhaps?

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh yeah!

Hammer said...

"Can you imagine how many times I've tried to capture this magical phenomenon with the vid camera? My timing is always off, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Yesterday I decided that it's silly to try. Better to stand still, open my eyes and enjoy the moment instead."

I'm with you there. I feel the same way about photographing lightning.

dennis said...

Dennis says Maple.... Dennis says ...sigh

Barbara said...

Actually we'd be in real trouble if all the seeds (human, plant, and animal) took root! You have to fall on fertile ground or be a champion swimmer to make it in the seed world. It's probably a good thing some of them just decorate the sidewalks...

Mme. Meow said...

Hey Reya,

The helicopter seeds are maple (Acer) samaras.

Lovely post.

Gary said...

Reya,

I have been thinking about you as you transition from one place to another, with all that a change like that entails both positive and scary. But change is exciting isn't it?

Onwards & upwards indeed!

Steve said...

Dennis and Mme. Meow are right -- they're maple seeds. In Florida, the swamp maples have brilliant red helicopter seeds -- so not only do we get the joyful little helicopters, but we get springtime color too!

Reya Mellicker said...

THanks, ya'll. Letty calls the seeds "sycamore" seeds, though that may be a different tree in England.

Whatevah - they're cool. Drippy irises are nice, too.

Rebecca Clayton said...

They call Acer "sycamore" in England. The tree we call "sycamore," in the genus Platanus, the English call "plane trees." That's why Carl von Linne came up with the whole scientific name scene. Give 'em a name in a language nobody speaks anymore!

Your maple samaras look like red maple; I put up some sugar maple samaras on my blog last fall. I don't have a video camera, but I'll bet you'd have better luck with sugar maples. They take a much more leisurely downward spiral.

lettuce said...

ah. yes. except, some maple trees we call maples.

:o)

Reya Mellicker said...

They're sycamores!!