Catkin Cycle

Shed skins.

The magnolias are shedding catkins because the waxy white, sometimes blushing, blossoms below are bursting free. The flowers are lovely, yes. But I love more the spent skins, the tough furry guards, scattered on sidewalk and lawn. Their time is done; they stood watch and now may rest. Even if the bed is stony, they take sleep gratefully. My heart hurts at their bravery, at their discard, at their service ending so ignominiously–but they don’t seem to mind.

I think they’re so tired they don’t care where they’re dropped.

To create means to understand that everything is already and always alive, and also that everything will perish and transform. The great wheel spins on, flickering through bright waking and dark sleep–the catkins will provide nourishment as they rot, the tree will blossom again next spring, and when trunk and branches fail their decay will fuel some kind of new growth no matter how humans poison the atmosphere.

They’re still fuzzy, the catkins, but it’s the wiry brush of an old animal’s fur. They’re survivors, grizzled and experienced, shielding the tender beneath them. Now they are leathery grey peels, Spring’s first windfall, and the cycle moves on.

Happy Friday, my beloveds. Remember to protect yourself so you, too, can rest.