Let me explain.
When I posted a photo of buckeye capsules at Music Row, I mentioned that they would dry and split, and that the outer hull would look like a buck’s upper and lower eyelid. The seed inside would be the eye: the Buck-Eye.
Nancy, who has known me since 6th grade, wrote, “I want to see the eyelids when they open!”
Which is when I realized that I did, too, and that I had gone decades without even knowing about the eyelid thing. Until recently, all my buckeye encounters were with seeds loose on the ground.
To keep an eye on the eyes, I left my Music Row capsules on the kitchen table.
A week or so later, they split.
“Don’t they look like eyeballs of a deer?” I asked my family.
“They look like butts to me,” answered my family.
It was a fair description.
Fair in color, too: the butts were pale ivory at first, and then tanned themselves upon exposure.
But I did not want to see butts. I wanted to see bucks: a buck’s eyes.
So then, maybe because it was Nancy who asked, I got an idea. I ran upstairs and found the false eyelashes in the costume box. Pretty sure I bought these lashes for a Cabaret show in college, because the show was called Puttin’ on the Ritz, and what is more Ritzy than false eyelashes?
Here you go: not a butt, but a buckeye
—complete with upper and lower eyelids…
[Buckeyes have always been a Seasonal Must-See, but now the eyelids are, too. This is one example where Sidewalk Nature has an advantage: when street trees drop their stuff, you can SEE it.]
Backstory and Update:
Here’s the original Instagram post about the buckeyes, which came from Ray Stevens’ old tree.
“Who’s Ray Stevens?” my kid wondered, which was difficult to explain, even though I’d grown up hearing Ray’s silly songs on the radio. Comic songs aren’t a thing, anymore, are they?
And here’s a later Instagram post showing some un-butt-like buckeyes rolling around the same sidewalk. Aren’t they GORGEOUS?
P.S. The tree is a native Red Buckeye / Aesculus pavia. In spring, the red panicles of blooms are a hummingbird favorite.
My Instagram posts are 100% nature, and most of it the Sidewalk kind.
I’m not fond of facebook, but some people aren’t on Instagram, so I post nature things there from time to time.
Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world.
She writes about everyday natural wonders amid every habitat loss, and her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, Hippocampus, The Hopper, Flyway, The Common, City Creatures, The Fourth River and other journals.