Catalpa morning

I'm grateful to work near lovely tall trees. They set my mind on a pleasant path walking under the gingko, sweet gum, and catalpa trees with their distinctive leaves.

My gratitude is unlikely to be sufficient to save the catalpa trees along the curb when the builders of the faux castle monstrosity get past their stone exterior work. A native species with messy flowers, big seed pods, and lots of caterpillars is unlikely to fit their landscaping fantasy. Chances are better for a topiary shaped like a poodle.

The ancient previous owners of the property were satisfied with myrtle groundcover, tall trees with cigar seedpods, and their poodle. The uncoifed poodle endeared them to me.

In the Sixties I desperately wanted an unstyled, care-free poodle puppy. Back then, kids pretended catalpa seedpods were long cigars. We could quote the tv commercials for "cigars, cigarettes, Tiparillos", and ask, "Should a gentleman offer a Tiparillo to a lady?"

Nature was unhealthier then, that's for sure. Locust trees provided piles of "bacon" pods. Maples gave us swirling "potato chips". We spent lots of time picking the round blue "berries" from juniper bushes, adding acorns, grinding them rogether with rocks, mixing in mud, and smushing the results into foil chicken pot pie pans. We were smart enough not to actually consume our concoctions.

Back in Nebraska we had to use pine cones for hand grenades. My own sons were able to use the vastly superior seedpods of the magnolia tree in Texas.

Just thinking about sycamore trees sent me on a sneezing jag. Sycamores produce "Christmas ornament" seeds. Camp Fire Girls annually spray-painted assorted seeds, pinecones and with innocent uncooked pasta with gold or silver. Texas sweet gum trees produce seed pods from Young Bucky Fuller Visits the Galactic Empire. no spray paint required.

© 2010 Nancy L. Ruder

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