Acorn,Peattie

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

That time of year is almost here. The first acorns are appearing on the ground. Soon unnoticed breezes will be planting acorns by the hundreds.

What is it about acorns? So much beauty and power in their origin, and in their future. And an under-stated elegance in their present. That little cap of theirs—seems as though it covers a little head full of thoughts of life, birth, and growth.

But acorns are also a food; an irreplaceable staple of woodland mammals—from squirrels and raccoons to deer and black bears. And pigs, taken to the forest to forage.

Where do they really come from anyway? If I think I have grasped their origin, then perhaps I have not yet comprehended my own ignorance; or my own origin. But greater ignorance it would be, not to be grateful—grateful for this astounding combination of beauty of form and functionality, the acorns that grace our landscape.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Scottish author and social critic, known among other things for his commentary on the industrial revolution.

Image credit: The acorn of a bur oak. Donald Peattie, naturalist, author, artist.

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns

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John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.

2 COMMENTS

  1. In my front yard is the carnage of hundreds of half, quarterly, and mostly devoured shagbark hickory nuts. The indians and early settlers made flour from them.
    In my backyard, shortly, will remain the prickly husks of American beech nuts after the grackles and squirrels have their gorging. The season for walking barefoot in the backyard will be over.
    Life is a beautiful, glorious mess.

  2. Indeed Scot it is. Doesn’t one’s awareness of how the animals’ flourishing follows from the trees’ abundance lend much to our appreciation of our physical surroundings? –even when there is some inconvenience…

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