Saturday, October 1, 2016

surviving the fall

surviving the fall,
armored capsule splits open --
inside, eye of the buck

Almost all the buckeye pods have fallen now, some containing three seeds. Both the smooth interior and the rough exterior of the pods are beautiful. Most pods split when they fall and the shiny mahogany seed pops out, quickly eaten by squirrels with their tough teeth. Other pods survive the fall, slowly opening like an eyelid, revealing the eye of the buck.

One day I saw a real buck not far from this tree. Wonder what it thinks, seeing a buck's eye looking up at it from the ground.

This is the view from the other side, showing that each husk has three divisions.

The seed nestles inside a thick shell, soft on the inside, like foam insulation.

This partial husk contained two seeds. A darker circle near the dividing wall is where the eye of the seed was attached.

The tough exterior of the shell functions like studded armor. It starts out ochre, slowly turns burnt umber, then dries to cinnamon.

I collected as many shells as I could find. Only a few still held glossy buckeyes. But with the shells they make a lovely display of autumnal shades of  brown.

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