The helicopters fall from the Maple tree in a flurry. Their tails taps against one another and any obstacle in their way takes on the sound of a wooden windchime. They fall so swiftly upon the roof that my son and I swear that it is raining. I guess, in a sense, it is, only the rain has been replaced by these seedpods in flight, as they free fall at the wind’s whim. It seems their only will is the hope of taking root somewhere – anywhere. Nature is their determining fate.
Sometimes I wonder – if we never cut the grass, would we be living in a forest? I guess that I really know the answer. Yes, we would be living in a forest of Maple trees. They take root in the rain gutters or in the driveway. Nothing seems to stop them. It is as if they don’t care what the environment is, whether there is room for growth there or not, they just want to sprout. One even took root in the bush outside our front window, and as if it were showing off, it rose a foot taller than the bush in its race for the sun.
As amazing as they are, these multitudes of seedlings are as annoying. They’ve covered my patio and filled the gutters. As if I didn’t have enough work to do.
To add to that list of chores, today while I was at work, I think a flock of birds decided to decorate my car. I could have called it defiling my car, but I’m trying not to play the victim. It’s like when little children draw on the wall. They are just being creative, and happen to choose the wrong surface to decorate. That’s what the birds did. I mean, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go, and my car was just in the wrong place.
On my way home for lunch, a young girl stood on the corner waiting for the traffic to dissipate so she could cross. I waved her on, and as she skittered through the pedestrian crossing, I imagined her saying, “Some lady in an old car covered with bird shit let me cross in front of her or I would have never gotten across.” It kind of made me realize that although I don’t seem to be turning out any fabulous literary works these days, the writer is still alive inside me.
Things happen every day that send me into an unwritten book or poem, but the lack of time to jot down a sentence or complete a thought discourages me. Sometimes I do grab a pen or my laptop and make a quick draft of what was so eloquently going through my mind. But then, time gets away from me, duties and chores and the paying job take up my time till I forget that I even created that paragraph or page. So it sits, incomplete, all alone, its end never found – its culmination in perpetual anticipation.
Sometimes I feel that my life is that way. All the necessary daily drudgery is spattered here and there with moments of joy or meaning – those scattered solitary pages of prose and poetry. But they never seem to come together. Just every once in a while. Like tonight, when the dust rag dangled from my hand while my husband rocked in the recliner, and I decided that the dust could stay, and I remembered that I am never going to feel alive by the achievement of a clean house or a paycheck.
It’s amazing how I forget that fact. I start to feel like the person who is under the water struggling to stay alive, and those bits and pieces of creativity are the times when I make it to the surface just long enough to take one big gulp of luscious oxygen into my lungs to sustain me a while longer, as I go sinking down beneath the surface once again.
After work I went walking in the park. I turned on my Ipod and the song, “Anyway,” by Martina McBride came on. If you aren’t familiar with it, the song is about doing what moves you even if it doesn’t last forever or like my dad would phrase it, even if it doesn’t “amount to a hill of beans.” And I realized that my writings may not amount to a hill of beans; I may never be published or write a novel, but I really like writing. I need to do it “anyway.”
And maybe that’s what those seedlings are about. Their purpose is to sprout, and they’re going to do it anywhere they can – even if they never amount to a hill of beans – or a tall Maple tree.