Walking to work, I saw a very peculiar thing on the sidewalk. Its color was soft and meek: a whimsical fluff, a piece of delicate detritus which had somehow lost its way and now lay defenseless on the granite causeway.
What was it?
I couldn't pass it by – it was too bizarre, too exquisite, to ignore. It looked at first like a mass of grounded feathers, a detached wing, having somehow come to grief in a garish and unidentified battle. I peered closer closer, and the feathers because an explosion of silky fibers, and the wing opened into a seed pod, split and exposing a galaxy of birth, unraveling at my feet.
Its job was almost complete – only one seed remained.
Inside the barren husk, flights of fancy cast about the milky depths. I saw threads light enough to have burst from a captive princess' spinning wheel, sheer enough to embroider a satin bodice. They had loosed their future generations on the wind, bound for nurseries unknown.
I saw sparks of light in the constellation of strands – electric, white-hot filaments creating a grid of vibrant synapses. The finely spun froth seemed destined to melt, like fishes' breath rising from the waves. And yet, for all the life the life I saw inside this discarded shell, this was a dead thing.
I picked it up carefully, cradling it against the intrusive breezes, emboldened by the onrush of Spring. I carried it to work and once there brought it to my desk, where I could further admire it. But perhaps my admiration was shelfish; perhaps I should have left it outside, where it would have dissolved into Nature's graveyard, a part of the greening of her most precious jewel.