I took a walk on a local rail trail during a lunch break. The trail brought solitude occasionally interrupted by fellow walkers, joggers and cyclists. But not really solitude. There were glimpses of frogs warily looking back at me, chirps of chipmunks announcing “here’s another one.” as I walked by, and a distant hum of traffic in the distance. But I was alone with my thoughts. After cutting way back on listening to podcasts and music on most walks and rows, I’ve realized a net benefit in improved creativity. Everyone has their thing, mine is quiet.
An acorn stood in the middle of the path, shed of its cap and firmly on its fat end seeking perhaps a bare foot. But likely hoping for a kick to the grass where it might take root. Asphalt is no place for an acorn with aspirations. The remains of hundreds of its kin lay massacred on the trail, victims of bicycle tires and shoes alike. Looking back, I regret not kicking that acorn into the grass. It might have stood a fighting chance.
I paused at a wall, built of granite by hand. Dimpled from the stone cutter, lichen and moss-covered from a long watch under a canopy of oak and maple trees. The wall has stood here for at least 170 years, and aside from a crack or two looks like it could stand for three times that. If a generation is 30 years, the man that built this wall could well have been my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather. I wonder if he thought of that when placing these stones? Turning back the way I came, I thought the wall could easily stand for another ten generations if left to itself. Perhaps they’ll stand where I stood today, thinking as I do of those who came before and those who belong to the future. My moment with the wall was just a glimpse of a time machine passing from then to there, with a brief visit with me along the way.
That acorn is a time machine as well, waiting to find the right landing place to take root and grow. It too could outlive all of us. And a part of me hopes that it does.