The signs of nature around us


Rita Friesen
The Neepawa Banner

Twas a morn that required a light jacket for the dog’s walk. I watched the sunrise, burning away the haze that hung in the lowland. All signs reinforcing the rapid approach of fall proper. The swallows had departed days ago, their favorite aerodrome silent, the paths strewn with colored leaves, and occasional pats of bear scat. Then I took note of the acorns.

It would be easy feeding for the bears, that and the ready buffet at the compost site! But the acorns, smaller in size than some years but prolific. The pavement a layer of crushed nut meat. Made me think of the old adage that a heavy nut crop is indicative of a hard winter. And the squirrels have been busy, not too busy to stop their gathering long enough to taunt my dogs, but busy. There was a time when we, the people, drew our clues for weather from the signs of nature around us. Simpler times when we stopped long enough to observe our world.

I did what I love to do, I headed for the computer and looked up facts on acorn quotes. There was a time when I searched the wonderful and wonder filled  World Book Encyclopedia, volumes A through Z to discover new thoughts, and now it is so much easier- to find what I want and to get distracted and side tracked.

Sharing with you some sayings that struck deep.

“Fame’s a weed, but repute is a slow-growing oak, and all we can do during our lifetimes is hop around like squirrels and plant acorns.” Neal Stephenson, an American writer and game designer known for his works of speculative fiction. Born: October 31, 1959 ( new guy).

“When the oak-tree is fallen, the whole forest echoes with it; but a hundred acorns are planted silently by some unnoticed breeze.”

Thomas Carlyle 1798- 1881, a Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher. Considered one of the most important social commentators of his time. Other notable quote of his, “A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.” (really old guy!)

“Genius unexerted is no more genius than a bushel of acorns is a forest of oaks.” Henry Ward Beecher, 1813- 1887, an American Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, and speaker, known for his support of the abolition of slavery and his emphasis on God’s love.  Another quote of his -A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life. (old guy)”

And then there is a quoted form E.F. Schmacher. “Our ordinary mind tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become bigger, fatter, and shinier acorns; but that is of interest only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better; that we can become oak trees.”  Ernst Friedrich “Fritz” Schumacher, 1911- 1977, was a German statistician and economist who is best known for his proposals for human-scale, decentralized and appropriate technologies. (relatively new guy)

And finally – “from little acorns mighty oaks do grow’, an American Proverb.