The view from my cup… imminent sign of fall, or precursor of horrific winter? Acorns, part of nature’s granola for squirrels. I watch with amusement and fascination as a squirrel digs a tiny hole, inserts an acorn, and spends a good minute or two covering it up and tamping it down with its little paws. Mission accomplished, it scurries off in search of another, and the process begins again. Tiny hoarders, they are.
The pin oak tree grows adjacent to our back deck with a sugar maple for company. We have been in this house for over seven years. During that time, I have wondered if we had some mutant form of the tree that produces no acorns. I don’t remember seeing acorns most years. Enter 2020 stage left.
The pin oak got the memo from Mother Nature that this was its year to shine. We have acorns! The squirrels are, no doubt, ecstatic. Apparently, according to the all-knowing Google, a pin oak can produce between from 13,000 to 492,000 acorns. I posit we are in the upper range, if not exceeding it.
First, I noticed that the deck and sidewalk to the shed were littered with acorns. I was amazed to see them and astonished to see them covering every other inch of every available flat surface. At first, I wrote it off to us having had several days of severe wind and rainstorms. Currently, we are nearly at drought levels, and still, they come down by the bushels.
I now think of them as nature’s ball bearings. One wrong step and it could be a short ambulance ride to surgery and rehab for a broken hip. (I don’t like to think I’m in the age bracket where fear of a broken hip has come into play. But there’s vanity, and then there is reality. Sad, but true.)
While in my home office, conveniently located under the shade of our sprawling oak, I am periodically reminded of the spherical missiles as they attack the roof above me. It is almost musical, the assortment of sounds acorns make bouncing off roof shingles, a glass top table on the porch, metal deck chairs, gutters, concrete sidewalks, and decking. At first, it was unsettling, the random plinks and thuds. Now it is rather like white noise, ever-present, and nearly unnoticed.
While walking around the property, I got a closer look. Acorns are quite lovely. Still green, they blend with the foliage. After seeing thousands on the ground, I was amazed at how many are yet to drop. It seems my mother used to say things like this in nature are a harbinger of a vicious winter. Indeed, it makes sense. How else would 2020 end except in avalanches of swirling snow, store aisles bereft of shovels, rock salt, and sleds?
Acorns, perhaps 2020’s warning to stock up on all things snow-related. Might as well get some toilet paper while you’re at it.