Tuesday, October 2, 2012
an acorn on Park Place
There's a favorite loop I have for walking. It's straight north from our house. The road hooks to the left in front of a stone cottage that used to have a bamboo forest. Once, we met the old man who lives there, shortly after the forest had been cut down. We asked why it was gone. "The neighbors were complaining," he said. "It was moving over into their yard. Too hard to keep it contained." Now the empty space is planted with zinnias and cosmos and irises. He has a gardener's heart, and it can't be contained either.
After the stone house, I usually swing north again, down a quiet, curvy street. Ranch houses line the concrete curb, but even for all the ranch-ness, this street has character and charm. Cars rarely drive this way. There's a white and brick house covered with ivy on the left side, and I keep waiting for a "For Sale" sign to go up. How can a few square yards of ivy elicit such deep yearning? A few doors down, a bright pink mandevilla vine trumpets up a lightpost. To the right, shady backyards share a fenceline with the old city cemetery.
Aaron is walking with me today. He listens to my joy over the zinnias, my plans for improving the ivy house, my thoughts about my trip to Ohio. My heart in every different dress. We walk in quiet for a bit. I notice the acorns where the asphalt meets grass. "Wait! I need some more of these."
He smiles and shifts his weight as I scramble. "It's okay," I say, "I'm okay with being that crazy lady, remember?"
He rolls one between his fingers.
"Does it have a cap? I'm looking for the ones with the caps."
"No, no cap," he says thoughtfully. "Have you ever really looked at an acorn?"
"Hmm?" I am still hunting for caps.
"Look. Look at that color. It's so rich." He rubs more of the dirt off with his thumb. "It's better than what we come up with, stains for furniture. It's deep." The whole shell is revealed now, shiny. He is right. Brown is beautiful in an acorn. Brown, the color of dirt, dull. Now it is gleaming, and brown is a beauty to rival the cocky zinnias and loud mandevilla.
"Life is this simple:" Thomas Merton wrote. "We are living in a world that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true."
God shining through a acorn. God shining in the smallest of things, the dullest of things, the most swept over of things. Is it not true? There is no other way to explain the ache and wonder of the noticing soul.
As we turn south to home, I pray. Pray for the eye to truly see the acorn, for the eye to truly see God.