It’s December 1st and I’m thinking about seeds. I had a small collection of gray nickerbean, irresistible smooth, pebble-like seeds that clack and clatter when rolled in one’s hand. In her ever-pressing need to de-stuff our house, my wife had taken them to the beach so they could grow or be taken further along their journey by the ocean currents. On cold days you can stare off the coast and see the great, undulating serpent that is the Gulf Stream, a hot jet of subtropical water writhing its way north, piercing the colder waters and seeding them with nutrients, a feast for krill and all of the rest of the microbiome, who then pass it up the food chain until they die, a portion of their bodies raining like a fine silt into the deep caverns of the Atlantic, and again potentiating new life.
I don’t fault her for moving them along, I have an almost pathological habit of collecting things that sit around our house for months or years. Trinkets and baubles and little noisemakers and such.
But it would be nice to roll them around in my hands right now. To experience the sound that only they make, to feel the buoyancy that they possess that allows them to run and skip across the waves, so much that they practically don’t touch the water at all. A seed with that kind of eternally aloft spirit would be a great ally to help ease a burden.
And then there’s this — the gray nickerbean seed can remain viable for months — happily venturing across oceans, lightly dreaming. It is the primary host plant for the nearly extinct Miami blue butterfly and it brings me such joy to think of those seeds, plunked on the beach, sprouts thrusting skywards sprouting spines and thorns along the way and jubilantly calling out to its long-time friend and maybe, just maybe, thrilling at the feel of delicate flapping wings.