Tag Archives: Louisiana. Lafayette

LSS: I believe in acorns.

A giant live oak tree stretches over an expanse of my family’s backyard and home. Until the fall, we had three other oaks (not live oaks) that the city/parish cut in our front yard.
Our house looks completely different now without those three tall trees standing guard.
While I’m certain the power lines, not to mention our home, are safer without those three trees, I miss them—one of them in particular.
It was the closest tree to our front door.
My daughters and I stood and watched them make the deathblow cut to the trunk of the tree.
We cried.
So did the tree.
Literally.
As the chainsaw tore through the giant expanse of the trunk, buckets and buckets of water poured out all around. The workers said it happens sometimes because the tree has stored up water. I must say that the workers who cut down our trees were as nice and professional as they could be. I didn’t want to like them, but they made that impossible.
But this is not a column about those trees.
Or those workers.
This is a column about hope and regeneration—and nature’s examples of both.
Judging by simple observation, I have to believe our home is not the only spot in Acadiana that has been attacked by acorns in recent months.
Falling like pennies from heaven on an almost constant basis, the squirrels in our yard are downright plump and lazy at this point. I’m serious. The squirrels are ridiculously fat, and, even still, acorns are everywhere. We can’t take a step in our yard without stepping on at least 20 acorns. No one I know has ever seen anything like it.
When this bumper crop of acorns started in the fall, they tiny missiles would hit our roof, and we would duck for cover. Now they fall so often and so loud, we barely notice.
After a bit of research, I’ve learned that arborists have a technical term for an acorn year like this. It’s called a mast year. It’s a phenomenon when the fruit produced by trees in a given year is exponentially higher than the average.
Indeed, this is a mast year. There are so many acorns that there is no way the squirrels or anything else can eat them all.
And what will that produce?
Well, more oak trees, of course. Nature surely will take care of itself. The oak trees are doing what they need to do to beat the predators — regardless of who the predators are.
It’s like the old oaks, which have survived thousands, even millions of years, are saying, “You think you can beat us? Just watch this.”
To borrow the lyrics from one of my daughter’s favorite songs, “From little things, big things grow.”
With each acorn that falls, the oaks are reminding us of that all over again and again.
Jan Risher’s column, Long Story Short, appears Sundays. Email her at jan@janrisher.com.