It is shocking, almost frightening to learn how easy it is to become unaware of your domestic surroundings. How you can turn completely blind to things that are in front of your very eyes day after day but you just don’t see them because of their utter familiarity.
I had two amaryllises for Christmas. The other one pushed its third stem recently but it was such a tall one it fell down as soon as the buds started to open. So I needed the tallest of my thin vases for it.
I knew it would be in the living room as I’ve had some dried columbines (Aquilegia) plus a single cattail (Typha) in it since autumn. This is what I found.
The ‘cigar head’ had ripened and burst releasing a nasty-looking ball of seeds. I had no idea when this had happened. Certainly not on the day I made the discovery nor on the day before. To my great relief, my photos proved the spike had been intact around Christmas so it must have been some time in January.
When I removed the first fluffy handful pretty little spirals were revealed. A cattail spike contains at least 100,000 – according to some sources a million – seeds each attached to a fine hair. No matter how carefully I tried to remove the fluff probably tens of thousands of seeds were dispersed in the air. I bet we will see them floating around for months.
I had better take a tour in the house to inspect what kind of horrors I’d find if I actually opened my eyes at home for a moment.
Painting by Sebastian Sandelin.