This is the year Kina really discovered acorns. She’s been walking around plucking them from the sidewalk (as I explained in an earlier newsletter) and giving them out as gifts to friends, family, and guys who work at the parking garage. She is careful to select only the finest and most robust specimens—she found a particularly chunky boi in Kensington yesterday on our way to see Andrew and Des, an acorn whose nutty bit (or pericarp) was larger than its hatty bit (or cupule). I was proud that she found this acorn before some enterprising squirrel did, though I venture she’ll need it less in winter than they might.
I’ve explained to Kina that acorns come from oak trees and can only be found near them, which led in turn to a conversation about how there are in fact other kinds of trees (which seemed of little interest of her, given that other kinds of trees do not produce acorns). Now that I have an acorn aficionado living in my house, I feel that I am developing an ambient awareness of oak trees that I did not have before—a sixth sense for where they might be found (parks, older residential blocks) or lacking (condos, commercial corridors). Were there more oak trees before? Why do we not plant them anymore? Who would willingly choose a linden tree over an oak?
For all of our mutual fascination with acorns, Kina and I have not discussed what they are for and who benefits from their existence. Respectively, the making of new trees and the sustenance of squirrels seems tangential to her interests in acorns qua acorns. I’m in no rush to get to the existential qualities of acorns, because it’s such a joy to hear her compare each acorn on its aesthetic merits, and to reflect on the very best acorns of the day with her as she drifts off to sleep.