13. The Parable of the Acorn

Dear Frazer,

This is the parable of the acorn and the two soils:

An acorn lived its entire young life in the branches of a mighty oak tree. It loved everything about the oak tree and living in the heights of its branches. Up there, life seemed perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

One day the acorn noticed something peculiar. The season changed the air became cooler. The majestic leaves of the Father oak transformed to brilliant hues of brown, orange, and gold. Other acorns in the oak tree changed, too. Some brave acorns fell from the Father oak to the ground below. Other acorns, some fearful and others that were lazy, remained on the branches and withered and died. They too fell from the oak tree. Some of the acorns that cast themselves away from the branch on which they lived, fell to the earth below. But, they landed far from the Father oak and died.

As the acorn saw all of this, it wondered why all of this happened. How is it that the acorns that remained on the Father oak’s branches died? Why did some of those that fell to the earth perished, while others lived on? How far was the drop? Will it kill me? He thought these and many other things as he pondered what to do. He didn’t wish to wither and die on the branch of the Father Oak, as other acorns seemed to do. But all the same, the choice to fall was a scary one.

He decided to ask his Father, the oak tree. “Father, what must I do to live?” He asked.

His Father replied, “Ah, my little acorn, I was once just as you are now. In order to live I fell to the earth to die and rise again. This is a great but true mystery. I want nothing more for you than to see you also become a great and mighty oak tree. But there is only one way, and the choice is yours to make alone. I cannot do it for you. But you must remember to remain close enough to the shade of my branches for a time, where I may still provide for you, in order to live.”

The acorn learned later that the Father gave all of his offspring this very same instruction, and yet few were those that followed them.

But not this acorn. He wanted to be just like his Father at all costs. So, he readied his mind and strengthened his heart, and took the frightening leap out into nothingness. To his surprise, the fall was quite pleasant. He saw the earth below, covered in leaves of brown, orange, and gold – leaves that had also fallen from his Father’s branches. When he landed, the leaves broke his fall, but the acorn still went through them to embed in the rich, loam soil below.

The rains came and went, the air cooled more and more, and the acorn was covered entirely with earth – a blanket that the Father Oak had made for him. He learned that in this new soil, his Father still cared for him and provided for him. Yet there were other acorns that fell outside of his Father’s protection. There, the soil was quite different. The Father Oak’s covering could not protect them, and some were taken by the extreme chill of winter. Others were easy targets for squirrels and other predators to find. Many of them perished.

The acorn fell into a deep slumber. It awoke months later to find that the whole winter had passed. Not only that, but a large root and several smaller ones had begun to grow beneath him, reaching down into the earth. It was much different from what he thought it would feel like. He was anchored to the ground, and it was fitting. And what is more, a small stem with a green leaf grew up from the top of his shell. He was free, an acorn no longer, transformed into an oak sapling that was changing from day to day into the likeness of the Father Oak. It was his dream come true, and he praised his Father and thanked him for showing him the way.

In the years that followed he grew into a mighty tree whose heights soared up to that of his Father’s. They delighted in one another. When the time was right, the acorn turned oak tree bore much fruit. He, too, instructed his offspring in the way that they should go, the way of the Father Oak.

Frazer, I know that in the years to come life will make you into a mighty oak.

Until next time,

The Pilgrim

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