Spring Cleaning Yields Thousands of Acorns and New Thoughts

March 28, 2010 by  
Filed under SYMBOLS & TEACHERS

I was reminded the other day by a friend that our typical spring cleaning tasks can yield wonderful symbolic moments of opening, new beginnings, and new knowledge. Even the simple, mundane chores involved in yard cleanup can help you see what might ordinarily remain unseen. It all depends on what you find. And if you are willing to see with new eyes.

a timeless universal symbol for new beginnings

a timeless universal symbol for new beginnings

My friend simply stated that she had spent most of the day raking her yard. Because her yard is dense with Oak trees, she had to contend with thousands of acorns strewn all over the ground. Can you even imagine this? Thousands of acorns. Even though she wasn’t excited about this, I was.

I could easily visualize walking on a bed of acorns in her shaded yard, hearing them crunch beneath my feet, feeling their warm, soft texture, and admiring their delightful simple form.

As a child I spent many hours walking about in nature. I grew up in a rural area, surrounded by farm land, meadows, open fields, ponds, split rail fences, and country roads. My favorite pasttime was to walk the fields and collect little bits of this and that: seed pods, leaves, stones, pinecones, feathers, nests, bird’s eggs, and, of course, acorns. To earn a place in my collection, each piece had to have some characteristic that held my fascination. Rocks had to have an intriguing shape, some color, maybe some stripes or speckles, etc. Seed pods had to have a strong sculptural foundation. Pinecones had to be intact. And, acorns, well, those had to feel good in the palm of my hand.

When I found an acorn, it was always a thrilling discovery because it meant that there were more nearby. The hunt was on. It was always fun to find a capless acorn and then find a cap to fit it. Later I would glue the caps back onto the acorns. I spent hours looking for “stuff.” It is safe to say that I was an aesthete, not an athlete, and it was in this world that I began to learn about symbols and how much richness they could offer one’s spirit.

acorns symbolize the dream you can hold in the palm of your hand

acorns symbolize the dream you can hold in the palm of your hand

As a seed, acorns are a timeless Universal symbol representing new beginnings and patience. It takes a long time for an acorn to grow into a mighty oak–a classic tree which represents strength, steadfastness and protection–yet every acorn has this potential. I thought about how acorns are like thoughts, wishes and dreams.

Each one has the potential to come to fruition and be realized. But not all of them do.

What would you do if you were confronted with “thousands of acorns?” 

To me, this is much like the task of our daily living. We are confronted with thousands of thoughts, ideas, dreams and choices nearly every day.

  • Which ones will we act upon and turn into those mighty oaks?
  • Which ones will offer us protection, shade, shelter, and something beautiful and steadfast that endures for generations to come?
  • Which ones will become saplings?
  • Which ones will we burn?
  • Which ones will turn into new ideas, new growth, and new realizations?
the acorn symbolizes patience and potential

the acorn symbolizes patience and potential

For me, one of the largest lessons we must learn, and relearn over and over again, is how to decide what to nurture and what to let wither, what to keep, and what to let go of.

When I interact with acorns, they remind me of this essential balance we must learn to manage. Thousands of acorns, to me, are a wonderful opportunity to contemplate opportunities, the gift of our free will, choice, and purpose to make the most of them, and the patience it often takes to see them through. Great oaks from little acorns grow. Even while raking the yard on a spring cleanup day.

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