Melancholy Morning

22 09 2013
Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), tree

Sycamore Maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), Wikipedia

I’m in a curiously good mood just now.

I was supposed to be going on a 10km hike today, but my intended walking partner was totally incommunicado over the weekend, and the 7am start came and went unmarked. Mrs E is far too sensible to leave the house when the weather is inclement, and the whole adventure quickly joined the growing annals of “could have done” adventures. BC is under a bit of a weather front at the moment and autumn is definitely here to stay now.

Rain; wind; rain; cooling temperatures; rain. You get the picture. Oh – and did I mention it’s started to rain?

Of course, my pleading “it just adds a bit more interest” fell on deaf ears, and despite having a whole wardrobe of better than average wet weather gear, I sit here now typing at a PC instead of getting rosy cheeks out on the Howe Sound Crest Trail. Though it’s likely a completely safe trail, my scouty background prevents me from hiking without a partner “just in case”. And here I sit.

So – I’ve pencilled in “go for a run” for this evening (something I can do without relying on anyone else – rain or shine), and instead took the dog for a walk around the duck ponds. It wasn’t actually raining per se. More blustery and the odd shower. Nothing my MEC coat couldn’t handle with complete distain. Walking with my hood up and occasionally being buffeted by a gust made me actually think of how cosy it is to be in a properly erected tent during a storm. Hearing the wind outside and the rain hammering down on the flysheet while you’re all cosy in your sleeping bag. As I’ve got older (and acquired more disposable income) I have to admit that my sleeping bags have become increasingly more cosy over the years too.

A very calming, comforting sensation though. Nature embraced? Nature commanded? I’m not sure what the message is there. Where’s the line? It’s comforting to be in a tent in a storm, but being in a house or other building makes it irrelevant. When does protecting yourself from the extremes of nature become the arrogance of denying its ultimate supremacy?

And as the dog meandered from one side of the path to the other, checking in on all those doggy social media message boards that our noses thankfully can’t detect, the wind whipped leaves and twigs off the surrounding trees. No branches though, thankfully. Branches and whole trees tend to be dislodged in “proper” wind-storms which we usually get over-night. And then I looked up from beneath the limited view-port that my peaked anorak hood offered. Instead of looking at the wet path and my immediate future, I looked up at all the possible futures. And there I caught sight of a maple seed helicoptering down from some lofty height.

It instantly reconnected me with the memories of the 6 year old that still lives inside. He’s usually bound and gagged and restricted by the conventions of society, manners and education. My granddad, or maybe my dad – it doesn’t matter which, for this portion of their character passed with other genes from one to the other and likely also to me – showed me how to entertain myself for hours on end by tossing sycamore seeds into the air and watching them slowly descend. Braked by the spinning of their blade. Sycamore (or Acer pseudoplatanus as Wikipedia informs me) is Britain’s maple, though I am informed (also by the great Wikipedia) that it’s only been resident there since the 17th century. Funny how I hadn’t really made the connection (names are powerful thought restrictors) between the huge variety of maples in BC and the childhood sycamore of the UK. Its leaves go yellow and brown rather than the gorgeous pinks and reds of BC’s varieties. The Japanese Maple is smaller and frillier, but also red (and has “Maple” in its name). But, despite the totally obvious similarity of its seed and leaf-shape, that neuron path just hadn’t fired.

But now I’m better. 🙂

I glimpsed once more the simple childhood pleasures of watching nature do its thing, oblivious of us parasitic humans attempting to screw it up at every opportunity. The Gaia Hypothesis.

I picked up the seed. I commanded the dog to watch (which she of course ignored), and with all the gleeful enthusiasm of a 6 year old, I tossed the seed back from whence it had come so it could once more demonstrate its spinning skills to anyone who cared to observe.

I did.

They were impressive.

Perhaps Irasohn knows why…

Irasohn’s “Maple Seed Dynamics”