Today I noticed something else cat/squirrel related as I was pulling weeds around our brick patio. Many of the weeds were not really weeds, but tiny trees. So, is a tree a weed? It is, if it is growing amok in a place where it should not be. So I pulled. And pulled more. And more. There were tiny trees everywhere. I had never noticed so many, so I began investigating and connecting dots.
I figured out the connection between the cat, the squirrels and the helicopter, so here goes:
A couple years ago I was preparing a power point presentation for an author visit to fourth graders. I wanted to illustrate word choices I made in writing my picture book, When Christmas Feels Like Home.
To illustrate how authors revise, I introduced the children to figurative language I wrote that didn't make it into the final book. One was about those helicopter seed pods: when helicopters spin from trees. In the end I didn't use it because not that many readers would connect the image of a helicopter to seeds spinning from the sky. They had to live in our corner of the world where poplar trees abound and where each new spring season brings the joy of spinning seeds. By the way, the children knew exactly what I was talking about when they saw them. They had spun the seeds themselves.
As part of the power point I wanted to show a picture of the seeds. I went outside my house back then, looking for seed pods to use.
But when I threw them into the sky, they didn't spin. The seeds were missing from the blade and the helicopter pod fell to the ground without spinning. Almost every single one was empty. I had to search to find enough to take that picture to show the children.
But what happened?
Easy answer. Squirrels. They had dined on my tulip poplar seed collection and left the empty hulls behind.
That was pre-cat.
Patches the cat arrived later that year and wreaked havoc with the nature in my backyard. With the squirrel population diminished, the seeds fell undisturbed the next season. Left alone, they sprouted.
These seeds had two purposes on this earth, beyond entertaining children. Feed for animals and becoming majestic trees. When they avoided being fodder for squirrels, they went on and did their thing and started the miracle process to become trees.
And I pulled them up.
Catch of the day,