“It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars

Acorns from a red oak tree

I don’t know what it is about acorns this year.  I seem to be focusing on them more than ever before.

Today’s quote about acorns speaks to the qualities of patience and faith.  And it makes me think about what acorns I have planted — certainly parenting is planting acorns.  We do our best, and despite our flaws and missteps and outright mistakes, we pray fervently that our children will be all right in the long run.  We have faith in our children.

What other acorns have I planted?  I trust that my investment in education and my experiences building skill sets will serve me well the rest of my working life.  Perhaps I’m even resting too much on my laurels in this area of my life.

The acorns I am planting now have more to do with committing to art — photography, watercolor painting, writing for my blog.  Who knows if, long term, these pursuits will grow into anything so recognizable as an oak tree.  It is so easy to become derailed by doubt.

The lessons of the acorn:  Patience.  Faith.

Watercolor sketch of acorns and leaves from a red oak tree





Hidden Trees

November 5, 2011

“Is it not incredible, that in the acorn something has hidden an entire tree?”
— Mary Oliver, from “More Evidence”

Cache of acorns from white oak, with a couple from red oak

Minnesota has funny-looking acorns!  The acorn of the white oak features what looks like a fur-edged cap.

Watercolor sketch of acorns from the white oak

Watercolor sketch of acorns from the red oak

What Nature Reveals

August 1, 2010

"Benedictine prayer is designed to enable people to realize that God is in the world around them." Joan Chittister

“Morning and evening, season by season, year after year we watch the sun rise and set, death and resurrection daily come and go, beginnings and endings follow one another without terror and without woe.  We come to realize that we are simply small parts of a continuing creation, and we take hope and comfort and perspective from that.”
     — from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today by Joan Chittister, OSB

Nature can be another catalyst for contemplation.  Here are some photos taken during my contemplative walks around the grounds of St. John’s University:

Grace upon grace . . .

Tiger lily

"The world laughs in flowers." e e cummings

"Consciousness of God is perpetual prayer." Joan Chittister, OSB

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Faith sees a beautiful blossom in a bulb, a lovely garden in a seed, and a giant oak in an acorn." William Arthur Ward

Dragonfly poses for backside view


Natural necklace of lavender blossoms

Chipmunk in a tree

Thistle down

Reflections in the lake on my walk to Morning Prayer

Dandelion wishes

“We have to learn to be mindful that creation belongs to God and we have only been put here as its keepers.”
     — from Wisdom Distilled from the Daily by Joan Chittister, OSB

Small Beginnings

August 26, 2009

Cluster of green acorns

Cluster of green acorns

There is an oak tree growing on the parking strip a few houses down from us, and I just noticed that it is full of green acorns.  I love the shape of the capped jewel, a little package that holds the promise of big things to come.

Small Beginnings
by Charles Mackay

A traveller through a dusty road strewed acorns on the lea;
And one took root and sprouted up, and grew into a tree.
Love sought its shade, at evening time, to breathe its early vows;
And age was pleased, in heats of noon, to bask beneath its boughs;
The dormouse loved its dangling twigs, the birds sweet music bore;
It stood a glory in its place, a blessing evermore.

A little spring had lost its way amid the grass and fern,
A passing stranger scooped a well, where weary men might turn;
He walled it in, and hung with care a ladle at the brink;
He thought not of the deed he did, but judged that toil might drink.
He passed again, and lo! the well, by summers never dried,
Had cooled ten thousand parching tongues, and saved a life beside.

A dreamer dropped a random thought; ‘t was old, and yet ‘t was new;
A simple fancy of the brain, but strong in being true.
It shone upon a genial mind, and lo! its light became
A lamp of life, a beacon ray, a monitory flame.
The thought was small; its issue great; a watch-fire on the hill;
It sheds its radiance far adown, and cheers the valley still!

A nameless man, amid a crowd that thronged the daily mart,
Let fall a word of Hope and Love, unstudied, from the heart;
A whisper on the tumult thrown, – a transitory breath, –
It raised a brother from the dust; it saved a soul from death.
O germ! O fount! O word of love! O thought at random cast!
Ye were but little at the first, but mighty at the last.