Friday, May 27, 2011
Keys to the Forest City
Children call them 'whirlybirds' or 'helicopters'. They are more accurately known as maple keys — the seeds of the maple tree. These distinctive seeds grow in pairs and spin as they fall. With a good breeze, they can travel a fair distance before striking the ground. As one tree can release hundreds of thousands of keys, this London street was thick with maple keys after a nasty thunderstorm rolled through the neighbourhood.
When I was a little boy, I would break a maple key in half and then split the seed pod itself. The inside of the pod was slightly sticky and I could spread the two halves and stick them on both sides of my nose. I thought the wing or blade of the seed, sticking out from my face, was like a lot like a rhinoceros horn — a small, thin, green rhinoceros horn — but a rhinoceros horn just the same.
Hey, I was a little kid and little kid's have big imaginations.