This morning I woke up to the sound of pouring rain, and perhaps even some hail. I was surprised. It wasn’t supposed to rain until later in the day. I opened my eyes and in amazement I saw there was no rain at all. My ears had deceived me.
Instead, I witnessed an avalanche of whirligigs cascading through the air, twirling and spinning to their destiny, hitting my windows, roof and deck with unbelievable force as they danced like Sufi Dervishes with the gusty wind. It was their one and only flight, and they were doing it enmasse.
Mama Maple, over 100 years old, was committed to spreading her offspring in abundance. I just found out that these winged seeds are actually her fruit, called samaras. And they are edible and sweet, protein rich, when peeled from their brown wings. For those little helicopters, whirlers, twisters, or whatever you prefer to call them, it is their mission to take flight, land and root and carry on with their Maple Dynasty.
I gotta love them. Even as I dread them.
My whole garden gets bombarded by their quantity and determination. Most of them will be raked and swept into the garbage. On my hands and knees, perhaps grumbling and grouchy, yearly, I try to clear them away before they take root in the earth. I do my best but I will miss plenty of them. Then I get to pull those hidden and successful ones up, or we will have a forest of maples in our little city lot. Not to mention that my garage roof will have to be tidied and my gutters cleaned.
I am wondering what they have come to tell me even as I resist them. Can I approach their messy madness differently this year? Can I admire them? Can I even resonate with them? How are they like me?
I flash back to my childhood when I adored them and couldn’t wait for them to fall. I didn’t have my preferences about their impact on the beauty of my terrain. Some kids even knew how to whistle with them. I loved to pop out their moist pea-like green seeds and discard the tan feathery pods that encased them. I might sit on the ground for hours with my friends, chattering away, while all our little fingers were busy at play with these once-a-season visitors.
Now, as I write this blog, looking out my window, they swirl with delight, swept to and fro, surrendering yet playful in their flight. They are beautiful and mesmerizing before they mess with my garden’s aesthetic. After all, isn’t it my choice about who will be allowed to grow in my garden and who won’t?
As they descend, I finally hear their message. “What will be will be. Some of us will take root, the rest of us will have had our moment. And that is that. Do with us, what you will. There will be more of us next year.”
All at once, I see them like my creative ideas, messy and chaotic, rushing at me and through me, some meant to grow, others meant to be let go. They have assured me that there will always be more. More creative impulses and discoveries. Lots to let go of. No need to cling.
So, this year, as I kneel, I will do so with prayerful intention. Instead of resenting them for the extra work they make for me, I will thank them for their message of accepting that what will be will be. I will honor their impulse to live and take root as I want my dreams to do. I will scoop them into a compost pile at the foot of their Mama Maple like a blanket of love.