Oak - Quercus spp.

Oak - Quercus spp.

Another Story Teller

It was Father’s Day, and my family surprised me with a 6ft oak tree that came in a relatively small plastic pot. Knowing intuitively that plants aren’t meant to stay in pots, I immediately planted it out into its permanent location. Then a thought occured: Pots indeed help a plant get started, providing security, pre-packaged fertilizer, uniform soil and daily waterings. Plants indeed grow in pots. But there comes a point when the roots have circled themselves so much that they become constrained by the walls of the pot. If a plant is to stay permanently in a pot, then it will either weaken and diminish or it will exist in an atrophied state with minimal growth.

"A bird that cannot both open and close its wings cannot fly."

Ultimately plants were made for the earth, to be placed out in nature, where their roots can explore the mineral wealth below, and reach to unfathomable heights above. The earth is never an easy process of growth for plants, with strong winds and beating rain, with insects and disease, and with the terrifying fear of the unknown always above and below them. But it is and has always been the impeded stream that sings, it is the wind whipped sapling that grows stronger, and it is the persecuted plant that sends its roots deeper.

"It may be then that form serves us best when it works as an obstruction, to baffle us and deflect our intended course. It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."

Metaphorically speaking, every human starts off seeded in some kind of pot, having to experience growth within the constraints of its surrounding cultural, religious and linguistic walls. And while many will be content with staying in the safety of a pot forever, there are those reckless few who will seek to grow beyond their artificial constraints. And when our mold of preformed roots finally touches the earth, we will indeed struggle at first, fearful of our new surroundings. Growth will be slow as our roots begin to push out and explore, but before long we will come to realize that the amount of wealth in the soil is unfathomable, and as our roots go deeper, our foliage will inevitably start reaching to unbelievable heights.

"Continually trying to look on the bright side interferes with our finding the wisdom that lies in the fruitful darkness. Continually striving upward toward the light means we never grow downward into our own feet, never become firmly rooted on the earth, never explore the darkness within and around us, a darkness without whose existence the light would have no meaning."

Choices are always before us. Do we want the safety of the pot or the unlimited potentialities of the earth? Do we want the repeating image of a closed circle or the mysterious turnings of the spiral? Do we want to live in the safety of caves, or do we want to push through the fruitful darkness. Do we want to figure this out all on our own, or do we want to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, even if those shoulders come in the form of plants?

"A flickering flame will guide you through a dark cave, but when you enter the land of the radiant sun, the flame, forever alive, has fulfilled its purpose."


The acorn has largely been forgotten by humans as a food, but this is more of a recent forgetting, as the acorn has a long history of use throughout the world. Acorns are high in fats, protein, and carbohydrates, and also contains a good portion of minerals like potassium, phosphorus and calcium.

If properly leached, acorns have a nice nutty flavor, much like a Chestnut. They are easy to collect and process, and one mature tree is capable of producing thousands of these little oak nuts. Just make sure to check your acorn before you put it in your bag. If it has any hole in it, it means another hungry being got there first and is already eating the inside. If this acorn makes it into you bag, you can be sure that hungry being will find its way to the others.


Acorns are bitter when eaten right from the tree because of tannins. Tannins are a bitter chemical that the Oak tree produces, but thankfully they are easy to leach off.

Leached Acorns

There are many different ways to leach acorns, and many vary depending on the acorns intended use. If the nut is to be eaten whole, they can be boiled in several changes of water or they can be dropped in a mesh bag and placed in a stream or the tank of a toilet (yeah it sounds crazy, but… it works). This method can takes several weeks. If flour is to be made the nut meats can be ground into a powder and then soaked in several changes of water. Taste the powder and you will know when the tannins have been leached.