Thursday, 28 April 2011

Elm Seeds

30th march

And so the flowers die away... and give way to new life. As the flowers fade & seeds grow, the leaf buds also begin to open... three cycles of life easily visible to us at one time. Other life-cycles within the tree are progressing too... twigs & branches stretching... extending... the tree itself adding another ring within its trunk... and don't forget the root system, with it's own cycle of growth & renewal underground.
It is easy to see why the Tree of Life or the Tree of Knowledge is used as a metaphor in spiritual traditions. We are not just growing & learning on one level, but many at any one time... sometimes more obviously & sometimes things are expanding in the background unobtrusively.

3rd april

The colour of the elm seeds... or rather the case that encloses them... is such a vivid bright green, they really stand out from a distance and are one of the earlier flashes of colour visible in early spring in the uk.

9th april

The fruit of the elm... a soft papery sheath containing a single seed, delicate wafer thin discs that are actually surprisingly tough, protecting the precious embryo within.

There is a vibrancy, an ethereal quality to these clusters of seeds that almost seem to glow when seen en masse... an extra dimension that you maybe don't perceive from a photograph. In real life I don't know of a word that describes their particular hue. I know that people perceive colour differently & I always wonder whether others see the same shade as me.

13th april

There was a time when I saw this fresh green growth from a distance, perhaps driving by & marvelled at the early leaves of spring... I didn't realise they were seeds not leaves. I assumed that the leaves just darkened as they matured. You can see the leaves beginning to grow... a different shade of green entirely. It goes to show that nothing can be assumed and what you think you see can be something totally different... take the time to examine & study... be it a thing, a person, a situation & not take things for granted.

these are just seeds... no young leaves on this tree yet.

Of the trees i know, none come close to the brightness of this green, somewhere between lemon acid drops & neon green. As they age their colour turns whiter... more milky green

21st april

Nature's own frisbees that will release themselves from the tree that gave them life (or is it the tree that releases those that it gave life to?) to glide on the breeze, carrying the potential of new life with them. Not many of them actually take root & grow... most new elms spring from suckers from the base of the parent tree. Nature already has various means of procreating, whilst we are still experimenting & worrying about ethics. Perhaps it isn't the means that should cause concern, more the egos & potential for mis-use that raises questions of trust.

24th april

Vast amounts of seeds that will never grow... perhaps like souls that prepare for life but don't actually make it... perhaps like people in our mass of humanity that don't reach the potential we think they should. But who are we to say what that outcome should be? What is 'full potential'? And don't you think that 'full potential' is often a standard set by someone else for us, or that we think someone else should attain? 

For every little seed that is scattered, for every idea that doesn't become reality, for every person however much they do or don't develop... they all play their part, they all do what is necessary for them, however much we may think otherwise.
Chances of a tree maturing from seed are increased by the numbers released.... if thousands did not perish on the way, the few that grow would not have the chance to reach "full potential". And do they really perish? They give of themselves so that some of their kind can succeed... they provide sustenance for birds & insects, some take root and provide forage for other creatures... others decompose & give nutrients back to the earth, helping all-sorts to grow. No, they do not perish, they nourish... mission accomplished, they fulfil their role in the cycle of life. 

27th april

In the same way, ideas lead to other ideas, until a plan with the strength to mature develops. And what of people? Perhaps some give themselves as sacrificial lambs so that others may thrive. Some may be the cause of inspiration to others, either by their selflessness or by selfishness or misfortune that pushes others to reach beyond what they may have settled for. But this does not mean that we should accept situations or settle for being anything less... on the contrary we should always strive for ourselves & for others, for the world & humanity.... for who knows which of those seeds will be the one that grows into the most wonderful tree?

Festival of the Trees


La Dolce Vita said...

a most sumptuous and satisfying post dear one...

PatioPatch said...

Suzi, you have such a gift with words as well a great eye for a good shot. The close-ups are so good I wonder if you climbed the tree?! Love 'nature's own frisbees' and also I take heart from not having to reach some externally-set full potential!

Suzi Smith said...

Thank you both... i wish i could say yes i climbed them laura, but a decent zoom lens helped!!

Springsnow in Amsterdam said...

We celebrate the magic of springsnow in Amsterdam, created by the 75,000 elm trees. They throw their seeds as natural confetti all over the city. Take a look at or our FB

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