Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Of Germination and Generation*

It’s June and maple seedlings are sprouting all over the lawn,** piercing through the mulch in the flowerbeds, springing up through cracks in the patio. Each little sapling has only a couple of leaves, rippling flags of the tenderest, yellowest, youngest shade of green. The funny thing is that the leaves are nearly full-sized. They're nearly what you’d see on a mature tree——much like human embryos I suppose, all head and little limb. They look so foolish and yet so brave, flapping and waving from their slender four and five inch stalks.

Most of them won’t make it, I know. They’ll be nibbled bit by bit by insects or browsed whole by deer, drowned in floods or withered by drought. Many will be unceremoniously mown down with the grass. I may even rip a few from the sheltering earth myself. Oh, my heart will tear a bit along with the leaves, but the eternal quest for order in the garden must be met.

And soon the whole cycle will begin again. Every year, the old Norway maple standing sentinel in the center of the lawn sends hundreds of glittering green seedpods off on lazy, dizzy, circular flights. The silent droning of their papery propellers marks the slow passing of August afternoons.

It’s such a lovely feeling, that green forest vertigo feeling you get when lying under spreading branches and looking up, watching the helicopters sputter to the ground. And what fun, once they've fallen. When I was a child, all the neighborhood kids used to gather under the cool green, collecting pods and hanging them from our ears. Earrings for little wood nymphs.

Seeing these seedlings now, I think of the tree and its seasons. How deeply do I yearn for a child to share this sense of wonder with. Yet, so very few seeds ever sprout. And how few of those spouts grow into few of those saplings stretch into trees. Nature is profligate with her offspring, extravagantly inefficient in her spending.

I do so hope my own three spent pods may be off flying somewhere, winging their way through the blue. So, it makes my breath catch to see the shallow-rooted seedlings now scattered about, tiny and determined, nodding and bobbing in the breeze.

*Alternate Title: On Mourning My Losses yet Being Pro-Choice

** I do in fact live in Manhattan, but I also have some country access.

P.S. For those of you still following along: it's cycle day 26 here. Progesterone suppositories notwithhstanding, I've never felt less pregnant in my life.