Tuesday, April 24, 2007


I was standing lost, sunk, my hands in my pockets,

gazing toward Tinker Mountain and feeling the earth reel down.

All at once I saw what looked like a Martian spaceship whirling towards me in the air.

It flashed borrowed light like a propeller. Its forward motion greatly outran its fall.

As I watched, transfixed, it rose, just before it would have touched a thistle,

and hovered pirouetting in one spot, then twirled on and finally came to rest.

I found it in the grass; it was a maple key, a single winged seed from a pair.

Hullo. I threw it into the wind and it flew off again, bristling with animate purpose,

not like a thing dropped or windblown, pushed by the witless winds of convection . . . .

And now when I sway to a fitful wind, alone and listing, I will think, maple key.

When I see a photograph of the earth from space . . . I will think, maple key.

When I shake your hand or meet your eyes I will think, two maple keys.

If I am a maple key falling, at least I can twirl.


-Annie Dillard

( This photo was found on the web.......but for an incredible, original nature photo and post, check out Fragments From Floyd today...."Carrion Without Me"- It's amazing what comes along when you take the time, like Fred, to lie on your back under the sky and wait.....)

15 comments:

Tracy said...

Iloved this poem. I'd not read it before. I remember HOURS spent throwing helicopters, as we called them, in the air as a child.

Moi said...

i love the feel of words here, Bluemountainmama :)
gazing, whirling, transfixed, thistle, pirouetting , twirled, animate purpose........have never heard of Dillard before....thanx for sharing her work...and went to the link too.......beautiful pics all over the blog....i sure shall leave a word there ...:)
hope u are done with that yucky cold..:)

bluemountainmama said...

tracy and moi- the excerpt is from Annie Dillard's book "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek".....a collection of inter-connected nature essays written at Tinker Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia......

kaliblue said...

His photos are just wonderful:-). I love the poem.
Have a good evening:-).

gary said...

You bring back memories of my Grandparents place long ago and far away. We spent many summer days in the arms of a maple like you picture. High on o summer day dropping twirling seedpods on those below.

I thank you for the memories...

Tom Atkins said...

A lovely bit of verse and it hits home more because Tinker Mountain and Tinker Creek are literally in my back yard.

And the photo? Stunning!

Tom

dani-hermit-be-gone said...

Wonderful bluemountainmama! Endless discoveries of perfect wonder to be found out there huh? You just reminded me to hit the woods for the spring budding and green babies poking out everywhere viewing! The Floyd site is simply marvelous! What a gem.

dani-hermit-be-gone said...

p.s. I found "gossamer days"... it seriously took my breath away.

busybusymomma said...

That is a nice photo... ;) My yard is full of 'copters as we have two maple trees and our neighbor has three. They are very mesmerizing!

Ash said...

Wonderful image and verse!

L.L. Barkat said...

Is this a poem, or a quote from one of her books? It is lovely what she can do with a single, tiny experience, isn't it?

bluemountainmama said...

l.l.- it's an excerpt from her book "pilgrim at tinker creek".

Lizard Princess said...

"bristling with animate purpose"
is my favorite line from the poem, it describes both the visual and physical at the same time.

kirsten said...

Wonderful image, fantastic poem (I love Dillard).

Your blog is one of wondrous variety -- I love, love, love it!!

:o)

Mike said...

Neat poem. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hope you are feeling better from the other day.