Posted by: Memorizing Nature | October 14, 2012

Seed Seeking

Strange how so many living things just choose to stay put and apathetically accept the terrible events of their time. Like plants, for example. Their plan of inaction consists of languid sun-bathing and sipping what water their roots can attain. It’s an immobile life. They have no quick escape mechanism, preferring strategies such as thorns and toxins that can be mustered while slanting still. How lazy to freeze oneself on the landscape, with no desire for flight after fright. Willing prey for vegetarians, the plants have decided to remain where they first germinated, on a small box of land claimed in the spring. When a flower is plucked by some unfeeling biped, it has no option except to wither, because it cannot slink away, or expose its claws, or spit in the direction of the offender.    

Photo by Elaine Medline

But then I am forgetting one important element – seeds. Seeds that wing along with wind gusts, the potential of a species attached to a downy filament. Seeds of the milkweed, of the thistle, of the goldenrod. These are embryonic airships relying on luck alone. They might land on a driveway, next to a pool of spilled oil, just one more genetic packet not given a chance. Or drop on a lake and float, expecting an island to drift by. Alternatively, they could soar high, becoming caught in the feathers of a Canada goose, dodging bullets and engines, finally falling on inhospitable ground.    

Photo by Elaine Medline

Wrote William Faulkner, “I feel like a wet seed wild in the hot blind earth.” Seeds are the easiest metaphor, used repeatedly because we have trouble explaining ourselves. Seeds help us understand risk, immortality, and hope. Or lack of hope. “Every time I plant a seed, he say kill it before it grow,” sang Bob Marley. It is autumn, and the flowers have gone to seed, some no longer recognizable because the blooms are gone. The roadside ditches crackle in decay, but seem more alive than ever. Examined closely, the seeds themselves are prettier than petals, on account of their neat economy, curious designs, and softness to the fingers. I cannot believe the level of detail that lies behind my macro lens, and do not pretend to understand the messages that fan across the earth, arriving in silence to avoid broadcasting a lurking omnipresence, a domination unheard.   

If anyone can help identify the plant in the second photo above, please let me know in the comments section. Much appreciated!

Memorizing Nature’s autumn-focused post last year was called “Impassioned Interval.” If you missed it the first time, here’s the link.

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Responses

  1. Such beautiful photos elaine!

  2. Hi Elaine, I always look forward to new Memorizing Nature articles. Your descriptions in “Seeds” like the wind’s effect in autumn, blow me away!
    Kathy Hughes

  3. Great pictures and thought provoking!

  4. Reading your work is like a dream, beautiful get away. You should write a book.


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