"Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed and a giant oak in an acorn." Willam Ward Arthur
Everywhere this time of year where cathedrals of mighty oaks tower high above, acorns tumble down, as they carry out this most ancient of natural rituals.
As summer fades to fall, my allegiance quickly turns from helicopter seedlings to acorns, autumn's gift from heaven.
Valued for their fun-factor, acorns were one of my many organic toys as a child. Whiling away the days until the first freeze, I'd skip rocks across a placid lake, flatten colorful maple leaves between layers of wax paper, poke knots from weathered fence posts and collect acorns.
On the way to and from school, I'd genuflect under massive oak canopies, scoop them from the ground and fill my pockets to overflowing.
Jostling handfuls, clutching one after the other, round and round in a click-clack sound frenzy, I imagined them as quaint little people — miniature men, women and children. And later, executing my mission, I would modestly etch faces: eyes, noses and cheeky smiles.
Like a blue jay or a squirrel, I scatter-hoarded my acorns in little caches and substantial piles, here and there, reserving them as treasures for a rainy day.
This time of year when I happen upon an oak, I continue my autumn tradition and stoop low to gather a handful or two.
I ponder how much of nature is so terribly fragile, brittle and singular in dimension and consistency, but not acorns. Quite substantial in their makeup, their tough little shells and baret-like caps distinguish them with a bold sophistication.
Above all, I believe it is perhaps the power and promise represented in one virile little acorn that endears me so, as in this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
2010 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a national and state award-winning columnist. Her columns have won first-place in National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took first-place awards statewide. To contact Paula, email firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her blog at www.my-story-your-story.blogspot.comand find her on Facebook.