Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Sometimes it's the little things that catch the eye...

Despite a few lingering bouts of deliciously late sunshine the temperature has been getting decidedly cooler lately; peppered with blustery breezes. For a few days last week the autumnal air was suddenly filled with tiny flying seeds – emanating from the pair of elegant birch trees on the little pocket green in front of our house. On one occasion the birch mast was falling so profusely that for a moment it seemed to be snowing. The delicate, pale brown seed-flakes soon drifted into piles on doorstep and windows, finding its way inside the house through available gaps -  there was even a little light dusting between the sheets of our bed as we climbed in that night. They're so prolific, and perfectly aeriform, it's a wonder that the whole wild world isn't populated by birch trees. When the wind died down, the winged seeds seemed to float and flutter like midges or miniature moths. In fact: the cobwebs painstakingly spun across every window frame are now filled with winged birch seeds - much to the chagrin, I imagine, of the resident spiders at having their dining-rooms cluttered by inedible vegetable debris.

I wonder how many of these abandoned, carefree seeds will ever reach fertile ground to put down roots of their own? A handful, at best, out of thousands, millions... Apparently one birch tree can produce up to 15 million each autumn, which could lead to 2.25 billion over its lifetime. Such fabulous fecundity: admirable abundance.

Autumn seems a particularly good time for the sowing of seeds, especially this year, for us, of moving to a new place. But it also feels good not to hold, or hope, too tightly: to let go, let fly and see what happens. Like those blithe little birch-babies which yield to the imponderable stochasticity of nature that eventually leads to something new popping up, somewhere, in spring when you least expect it...

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