The Nature of Trees

Acorns. Smallness. Roundness. Small brown oval things. Spherical objects.
Anything small, anything round. Friends with leaves and twigs and pebbles. Something to cherish, to be cherished. Forever. To be loved and held and sanctified, like a song, a tune, a memory. For eternity. Saint Memory. Saint Acorn. Patron Saint of Acorns. Patron Saint of objects, of small objects: acorns, crab apples, grapes, cherubs, doughnut holes, marbles, jacks and balls.

Trifling elliptical things with no consciousness. Like an orbit. With no commonality except size. And shape. No social purpose or design or import or construction. Just small round things to collect and keep, to hide or throw or save, eat, count, draw, like, dislike, neglect. To yearn for, to put in a chest and savor … hoard.

Acorns from that day. Day One. A summer day. A blinding-bright wide-as-a-canyon- green-as-mint sparrow-soft fleet summer day. Earthy and robust.
Acorns we stuffed, you first, in our pockets, like squirrels, like kids, seeing who could collect the most, and then we tired of that so we had a snowball fight with them, in the middle of summer, sneaking up on each other—gotcha!—behind trees and bushes long shots across the playground, rolling them down the slide, slam-dunking into non-existent basketball hoops, rim shots, hook shots off the backboard, laughter, giddy with laughter, tears rolling down my cheeks your imitation of Daffy Duck so funny. I asked what is inside of an acorn and you said, A baby tree. An answer I gave my daughter years later when she found one in the snow, Mommy what’s this? An acorn. She shook it, What’s inside? A baby tree said I, remembering the dream. She turned it over slowly in her hand and said to the air, wonderingly, an egg horn.

And after the acorn fight a thunderstorm appeared and we commingled in the rain, our faces melting, running together like pastel watercolors.
Getting to know you. Trying not to, dropping out of sight so Nothing. Would. Happen. But it did anyway, in your office, the door locked but Marta had a key, I didn’t know why at the time, not then, not until later, and we almost got caught, you yelled thru the door to make her stop.

And then that night, that last crazy night, I lost all sanity, every semblance of sanity, every vestige of balance I had left and called you a million times from every bar in the county and ended up on the Fifth Floor, my first time there. I sat, stood, looked out the window crying. Endless tears, watching painfully for your blue Land Rover to cross the bridge on your way to work.
but the world just kept disintegrating and never finished falling apart.
and you didn’t save me, I wanted you to, I wanted it so desperately…
You married someone else, someone with my name but who wasn’t me, I didn’t understand how things could be so confused like that, it was supposed to be me wasn’t it, I was the one. But the two of you lived in Milwaukee on Center Street, I looked it up and drove there, sixty miles one way… How I wanted it to make sense, waited for it all to congeal, to make a finished drawing with real sides and boundaries so I had something to hold onto.
No answer…

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About Charlene Mertz

The author is a retired senior living outside of Dallas.