These almost-lighter-than-air seeds of the cottonwood tree drift away, showing no sign of breeze. For four days or longer, there has been no stirring of the air, no fluttering of leaves. The seeds slide slowly to the earth in the oppressive heat, catch against an edge of turf, old posts or planks, whatever disrupts the smooth edge of the earth.
They catch, pile in winding drifts like some grim irony of snow. In between the barn and the garage, there are places where they have gathered three inches deep. In the dim light of a fading moon and before the brightening of dawn, I walk past the pen and into the feed room. I scoop out a measure for the new gelding, then take a bucket to divide between the other two in the pasture across the driveway. The dew is heavy, quickly soaking my shoes and sponging a quick mat of cottonwood seeds into the treads.
Shiloh whinnies and he and the palomino both trot toward the fence. I turn off the charger and slide their buckets into place, twenty feet away from each other. I flip the switch back on and walk back across to the barn. Even in the thinness of this light, I can see my path’s dark winding through the cottonwood drifts.
I think of the thousands upon thousands of seed puffs this tree has already launched and marvel that the entire countryside is not covered with cottonwood trees. “What are the odds that any of that blanket of seeds will sprout?” I wonder to myself. “A million to one?”
Such odds seem rather overwhelming, yet the cottonwood continues to send out its seed upon the earth. I sometimes grow weary of planting and watering in places that seem to smother rather than nourish. But the God Who Gives the Increase has told me to sow and water.
He will tend to the harvest later.