Friday, May 30, 2014

52 Author Dates ~ Week 22

Visit An Unusual Landscape 

He’s almost 20 now but when our Tom was a young Sunday School lad he would often come home after church with more than a life lesson in his heart. Like most boys, after-church time was just as much fun, and the little gang of kids he hung around with never failed to find their own brand of mischief under the big oak tree behind the Sunday School room. 

Pin Oak Grove

Most times the mischief found it’s way into Tom’s pockets. Most weeks it fell out when I sorted the washing. Papers, small toys, rocks and other treasures. But for most of the cooler months it came in the form of acorn piles, gathered and carried home with as much diligence as any squirreling boy his age. 

One of those Sundays found us lunching with beloved grandparents who’d only that year bought a five acre property. It soon flourished with a generous vegetable garden, all manner of barnyard animals and acres of fruit trees. I mean rows and rows of apple and cherry trees with a healthy skirt of raspberry and blueberry hedges. 

Autumn Cabbages
For almost 17 years my eyes and tastebuds have drawn me to the bright colored orchard. But this autumn we toured the property from boundary to boundary for the very last time. My Beloved’s parents have sold the farm and this was our last farewell.

In the eastern most corner of the property we lingered under a grove of pin oaks. A sprawling field where pigs or goats might have played.

“All these trees came from Tom,” my father in law said. “He gave me a fistful of acorns one year and I planted them in pots until the saplings were ready for open ground.” 

We couldn’t take our eyes off the splendor of the autumn sky through the leaves and limbs of these beautiful trees ~ the gift my little boy had buried in his pocket for grandpa. 

I’d heard a story years ago about one of Tom’s acorns finding life on the farm. But I had no idea the entire pocketful had grown into something majestic. A landscape so ordinary, yet so unusual it was transported as a seed from one place and delivered to another by the rascally (and probably muddy) fingers of a boy who had no idea of its true potential. 

Through the pin oaks
I’m reminded in my 52 Dates For Writers that unusual landscapes have inspired great tales. C.S. Lewis was inspired by a row of brooding intertwined trees outside a village in Northern Island. A landscape many recognize in his Chronicles of Narnia. 

And while the sentimental grove of pin oaks could, and probably should, inspire the landscape for a story, it’s done so much more for me.

It’s reminded me that seeds of promise sometimes travel further than we can imagine before they find the right ground to send out roots. 

My stories are just like those acorns. Gathered, treasured, destined to stand tall. And I’ll be as proud to share them as I am of the kid who thought to share the tiny acorns in his pocket with his grandpa back in 1997.

My Tom in his pin oak grove

The same boy who in May 2014 collected another fistful of acorns and instead of putting them in his pocket, gave them to me. 

Blessings for a wonderful weekend,