Short Children's Story. Fall of 2008, now a published children's book.
|The Acorn that Doubted
By Don Chering
It was a chilly late fall morning in the park
The leaves had turned to gold, yellow and orange and were now falling to the ground, creating a patchwork blanket of color.
Sitting on the ground was an acorn
As he watched the leaves blowing around in the breeze, he was busy considering what he would be when he grew up. He was watching some trees on the other side of the park wave their branches in the wind.
These trees where unlike the giant oak whose shade the little acorn had enjoyed these last few weeks. They where smaller, they moved around more as the moving air caught their branches, some of them were still green, when all around them the other trees had changed colors in preparation for the fall. The acorn looked down at himself and back up at the big old tree and thought, “I must be in the wrong place I look nothing like my father, maybe I am one of those types of trees.”
Suddenly, without warning, he jumped on the next gust of wind and rode it over to the other side of the park landing close to a thin green tree near a pond, he asked the tree what it’s name was, it replied “my name is Willow”
“What do you do?” asked the acorn, “I give shade and shelter to who ever needs it, people that shade under my branches, don’t get burned by the sun.” Acorn thought for a moment, “well I sure hope I don’t grow up to be a Willow tree” he announced. “hmmph” said the irritated Willow, “why not?”
“Well” said the acorn, I don’t think I could handle the responsibility of sheltering people, what If I got it wrong? what if I made a mistake and some one got burned by the sun?”
“That’s just a chance we take said the Willow”
No sooner had the Willow finished speaking then Acorn grabbed the next gust of wind and was carried to another place in the park.
This time he landed next to a Rose bush. Being fall the bush was now rather dull, the Acorn had never seen a Rose bush before.”
“Who are you?” asked the Acorn
“My name is Rose” replied the bush.
“And err, what is it you do” asked the curios Acorn
“I perfume the park for those that wish to smell the sweetness of nature; people also pick my flowers to show each other their feelings. I am considered to be on of the most beautiful of all creations” said the bush, rather smugly.
“Wow!” exclaimed the Acorn, “now that is something I most definitely could not do”
“Well of course not silly” said the Rose bush, “you are just way too ordinary to even hope to be as beautiful as me”
The acorn was saddened by the words of the bush and rolled way on the gentle current of the wind as it swept the nearby ground.
“Ouch” a voice exclaimed from up high in the tree.
He came to a sudden stop as he bumped into the root of a tall Pine.
“Oh I am sorry” said the Acorn
“Why don’t you watch where you are going?” said the tall slender tree.
“Look you are disturbing the needles all around my roots, creating one awful mess you are” What a carry on the Pine tree made, after all he was only bumped into by a small Acorn seed, what harm could possibly be caused?
“Who are you?” asked the now sad little acorn.
“Typical” was the response mumbled from high up in the pine needles. “It must be fall again, the Oaks are showing off, the Willows are dancing around like fools on the wind, the Roses are sulking as usual, because they all lost their heads for the parade, and now seeds are rolling all out of control all over the park. Meanwhile we, the Majestic Pine trees, who I may add are always dressed in our very best green needles are ignored by everyone”
“What is it you do?” asked the acorn, summing up as much courage as he could. “Why, I bless the world with green, all year round” the tree responded, “I remind people of how beautiful the world is when it is not sleeping under a blanket of snow and help them get through the winter months till spring when all the color comes back to the world”
“Oh my” said the Acorn, “I most certainly would not want to be a pine tree, I would forget to stay green, or maybe not grow tall enough to be seen by everybody, I think I would make a terrible pine tree”
With that the little acorn jumped one last gust of wind which carried him back to the shadow of his father.
“Why so sad?” asked his dad. “I have been all over the park to find out what it is I want to do when I grow up” he said rather quietly. “But am afraid, I will probably not be good at anything, I am too afraid to be a Willow, I may not be able to protect people from the Sun and they could get burned, I am not beautiful enough to be a Rose, so how could I help people show each other how much they care? I am most certainly never going to be as tall as the Pine trees, so I will not be able to remind people of the coming season. I am afraid that I am simply not good for very much” said the acorn with a tear starting to form in the corner of his eye.
“Ha Ha Ha” His father let out a huge booming laugh, “why is it you want to be something other than who you are” asked his dad. You have spent so much time worried about what you will become, that you have forgotten who you are. You are an Oak tree my boy, a great big Oak tree.”
Oh dad, sighed the Acorn, how can I be an Oak tree, I have failed even at that, I look nothing like you. Look, your limbs are enormous, your trunk must be 10 feet around, the wind cannot even move you, you even have a swing hanging from one of your limbs, I have seen the people swinging on it and laughing. You are bravest tree I have ever seen, I saw that boy take out his knife and carve his initials in your bark and you didn’t cry, not even once!”
How can I possibly be like you? I am small and round I am nothing like you,
His father smiled and took a deep breath.
“When I was small” he said I was just like you, I had similar concerns, my father who has long been taken away to help make the great boats that sail the oceans, told me what I am going to tell you. So listen carefully”
The little Acorn looked up at his dad and waited.
“Inside every one of us is a birthright, a gift, the ability to grow into whatever it is we are destined to be. You don’ have to work at it, you don’t have to struggle at it, and you certainly don’t have to read an instruction book about it. Why you just let it happen, you can’t get it wrong. Funnily enough it is when you try to figure it out that you become confused and scared, it’s when you think you may get it wrong that the doubt stops you from growing in to what it is you are supposed to be. So stop trying to figure out who you are and just be who you are, an Acorn. You will understand more and more of who you are when you stop trying to be something else and then, and only then you will figure out who you are. After that you can start to grow into that which you are destined to be.
It is that simple”
“So I don’t have to look all over the park to find out what I want to be when I grow up?”
Asked the little Acorn
“No” said his father, “You simply need to look inside, you and be who you are, growing up will follow”
As the sun started to set around the park, leaves deepened into a dark rusty red, a little snow fluttered on the evening breeze. All became very quiet and still.
The Acorn closed his eyes sheltered in the roots of his father the Giant Oak tree, and drifted of to sleep. As he slept something magical happened. From within his shell, tiny roots started sprouting and burrowing their way into the ground.
The little acorn slept deeply for a very long time and as he slept he dreamed of children laughing and joking as they swung from a rope tied high in his limbs as he stood tall and proud along side his father the Giant Oak.