Saturday, September 1, 2012

Acorn Follies

Stranger in a Strange Land – No. 25

Acorn season has begun here in the Bluegrass. Soon enough, the nuts will have fallen in such abundance to the streets and sidewalks that crushing them will be unavoidable.* Pavement will turn school-bus yellow from their innards.

Park anywhere near an oak tree and you risk damaging your vehicle. Acorns fall so frequently at such a speed that you’d swear someone is high in the oaks taking aim. Take a walk at night in my neighborhood and you risk breaking an ankle on the little buggers.

Just last week on a bicycle ride to the library—as I was gliding downhill and coming around to thinking that the long, hot trek wasn’t so bad—THWACK! Something hit the front of my prescription sunglasses, violently, and bounced away. Worried, I stopped to check the damage. I imagined having to return to Chicago for repairs or replacements, but I got off lucky. No cracks, yet the single acorn had scratched my lenses.

A serious aversion to acorns started to germinate in me at that moment. Thugs! That’s how I was beginning to see the little devils.

After taking a deep breath, though, I countered this irritation by considering the natural beauty of acorns (their color variations, their contrast in texture) and their inspiration for artists. I thought about the potential of acorns to grow into majestic oaks and how squirrels, birds, and some human populations rely on them as a food source. The little devils weren’t so bad after all. With so much to offer, how can I not appreciate and embrace such a gift from Nature?

* Assuming this year’s crop will replicate last year’s, though with the extreme weather conditions of 2012, this may not be the case.
[Squirrel photo by Marko Kivelä; felted acorns from lil fish studios. Check out acorn recipes on hunter angler gardener cook.]

This is part of an ongoing series regarding my transition from the Land of Lincoln to the Bluegrass State. For a list of previous articles in the series, just select Stranger in a Strange Land from the right of Lull, under “Choose a topic that interests you.”

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