am I nuts?
I remember the day the acorn fell. It was fall. I was at the park sitting in a chair and reading a book and the weather was perfect, the sun shining and it wouldn’t have surprised me if the nearby birds had burst into song. It was that kind of day.
The acorn fell and must have hit a pebble or something because it made this quick cracking sounds as it hit the little patch of dirt about 10 feet in front of me. I was using the oak tree for shade and I remember hearing a few other things, nuts or leaves or branches, falling off as the afternoon slowly succumbed to evening but none of them made enough of a sound to cause me to look up and investigate.
Sure enough, there the acorn sat. Not as green as I’d always imagined them to be. More of a dark purple. The acorn that sat in my hand had once had a brother (or sister) nut but he or she was nowhere to be found. Just the attached little acorn crown sitting there all empty.
Another reason that I remember this day so clearly was the geese.
This had been earlier and I recall looking up at this terrible ruckus as it flew past me. A gaggle of geese making their way somewhere, trying in vain to form that perfect V that we’re all familiar with. It was more like a W and a few of the geese were letting the others know they weren’t happy about it. They were flying low and fast and it just seemed very ungoose-like.
If that had been the end of it I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to remember it so clearly… if at all. I’m certainly not the kind of person who’s life is so devoid of interesting moments that a bunch of squawking geese would have been forever seared into my memory simply for having squawked.
It’s what happened about five minutes later.
Now I’m no expert on geese but I would swear about five minutes later the same gaggle of geese appeared overhead, flying the exact opposite direction. In a perfect V. Here’s the odd part. They were flying in complete silence. In fact, as far away as I way, it was almost an icy silence. I’m not trying to tell you I have some great empathy or insight into the behavior of migratory birds but I swear it was if someone had been flying the wrong direction and wouldn’t admit it. I strained to see if there was one bird that looked particularly sheepish but I couldn’t see that far with any clarity. If I was that bird I’m sure I would have fallen in behind the rest so I did feel a momentary pang of sympathy for the stragglers on each side of the V as the gaggle made its way wherever it was going, this time in the right direction.
It was just a strange thing to happen on such a nice day and it made me almost on edge… as if something important was going to happen.
That’s why I remember the day so clearly and that’s why I noticed the acorn with more than a passing interest.
This little guy was somehow important. If there is ever a book of holistic gardening published I’m sure there will be a chapter in it about falling acorns. As it turned out I had recently had to take down a tree after a violent wind storm and had a perfect spot in my front yard for another tree to be stuck in. Because it was already the fall I had planned on just buying one in the spring. You know, one that was already half grown and possibly flowering or fruiting already.
But then I got a great idea.
I’d plant this acorn!
I stuck him in my shirt pocket and my mind was already planning the trip to the garden store to buy a pot and soil so I could plant him and let him/her enjoy the last warm days of fall before I tucked him safely inside the house to get a jump on growing before the spring came.
I don’t want to bore you with the details of the next few years but I did indeed plant that acorn in my front yard and a few years later it was tall enough to throw a Halloween decoration on it for the first time.
It wasn’t long before I was raking up its leaves. I didn’t mind at all, it had become part of the family and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t treat it just a bit better than all of my other trees and shrubs. I would even spend a little time talking to it now and again when life got particularly rough or confusing. I always felt that I had a lot of possessions but this was my tree. There’s just something about watching it grow up.
It wasn’t twenty years before it began to drop acorns of its own and I felt a little bit like a proud Poppa.
One day I was out on my lawn and I heard the distinctive sound of geese flying overhead which caused me to smile a bit. I might have even smiled more than a little bit. Ironically, I’d still have that smile on my face when they found me an hour later. You see, I had a massive coronary and dropped dead right there under my tree.
In my will I had been very clear as to where I wanted to be buried. Not in some distant cemetery with a bunch of strangers but right on my own property.
Right in my own front lawn.
Right under my tree.
Not only that but I requested that instead of one of those metal super-corpse-strongboxs that would keep my body sealed like a left-over roast in the refrigerator I asked that I be buried in a simple wooden casket. I had done this for a purpose.
I wanted to feed my tree.
What I didn’t anticipate was becoming part of my tree. I guess it’s simple science. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s actually not science at all. Well, whatever it is it is. The roots eventually found me.
Yes, I remember the day the acorn fell… I even remember the falling part. I remember picking me up and putting me in my shirt pocket. I remember all the years. I remember coming home.
And wondering if those damn geese ever got where they were going.