Listening to Wisteria

The sun was casting long shadows but it was still hot on a day of Santa Ana winds when the temperature reached nearly 100 degrees. And maybe it was the heat that made the seed pods on my Wisteria plant start to burst like crazy.

Sitting beneath the Wisteria.

These pods crack open with a sound like a dry stick being broken. The two halves of the pod, and the flat black seeds inside them, are fired a distance of many feet so they can find a new place to grow. After school, we sat out front and listened.

The plant would be still and silent for several seconds then “SNAP!’ Sometimes the seeds would be fired right at us. Sometimes they’d hit the nearby walls of my house and ricochet from one to another in the corner by the front door. The snapping sounds of the opening pods would be immediately followed by a rustle of leaves, or the ping off a wall, or a few clicks as a pod caromed downward from stalk to stone to the gravel below.

Though we were hit by some of the seeds, no problem. They’re really small.

We sat, watched and listened for about half an hour until we had seen enough and it was time to do homework. Come winter (remember this is San Diego) the Wisteria will be clothed in purple flowers. But now, it sings its rhythmic song as it tries to make more Wisteria by flinging its seeds.

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