"The beans on the propeller beans are larger than usual..."

19" x 25"
"The beans on the propeller beans are larger than usual..."
India ink, gouache, watercolor, paper

When I heard these words from Jonah today, I knew exactly what he was talking about. Those whirly, twirly, flying helicopter things that fall from the trees each fall. In that moment, I had three realizations:

  1. Our daily communications are such that I know--pretty much always--exactly what he is talking about, even when he strings together the most unlikely combination of words.
  2. His capacity to notice is keen and constant. He possesses a vigilant eye, insatiable curiousity, and a love of comparing and wondering.
  3. His ways of knowing, so different from mine as a grown-up who has (sadly) filtered out many of the things I used to see, never fail to help me see the world with fresh eyes.

In the absence of certain vocabulary words, I am delighted by how he strings together the words he does know--just so--to convey a subtle meaning. Other times, he simply manufactures his own descriptive words and phrases to name something, and these become part of his everyday vocabularly. I feel lucky indeed to witness how these words crop up in his wonderful daily wanderings through (and wonderings about) nature.

"Propeller beans." How perfect.

Curious about what they are actually called, I looked them up. Samaras. A beautiful word.

Every fall, when they are abundantly floating through the air and scattered on the ground, I am flooded with sensations and memories. They bring back the smell and feel of the air during this time of year, memories of childhood when throwing and watching them twirl through the air held a moment of wonder, and a sense of time passing as their appearance signals another fall season passing by.

Today we saved one propeller bean (unusually large bean noted and admired) and with one more noticing in our repertoire of beauties, marched into the rest of the day.