Monday, 21 October 2013

the whirlybirds

jolly optimism
had fallen by the wayside
a thousand miles back.

though, persistence
had sputtered on behind me
flicking at my heels,
through the end of summer,

in flits and bursts,
like the maple seeds on helicopter wings,
that spun about me, in zig-zagging tenacity 

– the dance of the whirlybirds –

floating airily on sweet breezes,
while the samaras waited, patiently,
for a good place to grow.

and so, at last, I stopped,
captured, happily, in the moment,
and settled myself, for a time,
in the direction of the bright side,
pausing, in sunshine mellow,
that renewed my tired soul.

and, at length, I was inclined 
to resume my journey, 
and attend to the things of living life . . .

light, as if, on paper wings.
 note:  A whirlybird is a seed from a maple tree which is carried by a flattened pair of papery tissue-type wings, that allow wind to carry the seed far away from the original tree.   Whirlybirds are also called helicopters and maple keys.  The seed they carry is referred to as the samara.  One maple tree can release hundreds of thousands of whirlybirds at a time.  The seeds are released at various times (depending on the type of Maple Tree) over the growing season - spring through fall.   The seeds of the Norway and Sugar Maple, for example, mature in September and are spread by the wind through early fall.

photos:  End of Summer Foliage (framing the City of Vancouver with the Pacific Coast Mountains in the background) and Whirlybirds – W. Bourke 

© 2013 Wendy Bourke


  1. Glad you got your optimism back...I hate that feeling when it's gone. I always loved playing with whirlybirds when I was growing up. You brought that memory back to me with a smile. Beautiful photo too!

  2. Thanks Jennifer. You, also, have posted some beautiful photographs with your poetry on Poet Laundry, which I have very much enjoyed.

  3. Yes, glad you found your "good place to grow" again. Wonderful details - and gorgeous photo.

  4. Thanks, Janet. I do enjoy the photography.