“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

acornsIt’s a cool and foggy Autumn Sunday before those glorious, sweaty, summerish days arrived for one last hurrah. Our family had made our way down a dirt path to a quintessential, rocky Maine shoreline in an attempt to shake the crankiness off of our day. One boy biked there, while the other road along in a little, blue push-car that has a few thousand miles on it now. We climbed on slippery boulders over to a part of the terrain that held an enormous fallen tree that hung like a bridge. Jonah—so agile, now, in these precarious environments—leapt ahead onto the tree. I warned him not to go under it—wary of the possibility of it collapsing further. Adrian—up ahead of me—made himself clear to my husband that he could navigate the rocks himself, too. I found a seat on a damp rock and took in the scene before me. I took in the juxtaposition of the bright and mustard-yellow colored seaweed against the ashen rocks. A thin layer of fog made the contrasts that much more striking. I sat there for a long while and I picked up a lone acorn that had fallen in amongst a sea of mussel shells and periwinkles, noticing the way it seemed slightly swollen from its contact with the salt water. I sat taking in my surroundings, rubbing the side of the acorn across my lips noticing its smoothness. I sat noticing a spaciousness coming over me and my chest expanding. I rubbed the acorn back and forth across my lips again for a while. Later, I slipped the acorn into my pocket, carefully taking it home with me.

My kitchen sink is positioned conveniently in front of a window looking out at my driveway where my two boys love to play. It is only recently that I may stand here, while they are there. We have a vast lawn and yet it is this runway like surface where they enjoy best setting up their work stations, their water-chalk, their digging zones in the flower beds nearby. We have had more than a few skinned knees here, yet still they return. I’m at the sink now. I’ve come to wash my hands. I turn the water on and adjust the faucet so that a warm stream is flowing through my palms. With soap, I massage my hands together, noticing the way the tepid water relaxes me, and taking in the boys as they play. I am rubbing my hands soothingly and Adrian begins running—laughing—down the driveway with Jonah following. There is crying between them at times. But I am marveling now as I gaze out at them—there is so much laughing. Sometimes the laughing gets to be so lively while they are eating dinner that I think that they may choke. I feel guilty at times reprimanding their antics. I am taking them in from my kitchen window like so many mothers before me and Adrian’s smile is erupting with joy and Jonah’s is, too. I rinse my hands of the soap and reach for a towel.

I am remembering now. I’m remembering now how it feels to look deeply into Jonah’s sea-blue eyes. I am remembering what it means to meet his eyes with mine, crouching down, even, to really look at him when he speaks. I am remembering how he stands up just a little taller when he notices me giving him my full attention. He says more. He has so much to share. His inner-world is active and filled with thoughts waiting to be heard. I am remembering about Adrian’s chocolatey—sometimes hazel—eyes and how his become just a little more liquid when I stop and really take in his words, connecting my eyes with his. It is almost as if he is touched with emotion by my interest. Adrian has so much to say, too. Sometimes he will shout at Jonah, “I was talking first!” I am remembering both of my boys’ gorgeous and reflective eyes and I am thinking about what it means to be seen. I’m thinking about what it means to be seen when you are a child. I’m thinking of all that it means to be seen.

7 thoughts on ““The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1. Lisa A. McCrohan

    Beautiful, Meghan. Yes, being SEEN. Being regarded. You know how these are themes I visit often in my own writing, but most importantly, in my own reflection and heart and life. Thank you for this vivid scene you so beautifully painted in words for us readers.

    1. meghannathanson Post author

      Lisa, you are so-very-honoring of our need to be seen through both your writing and just your life. I love that about you and know that our paths have crossed at least in-part because of our mutual attention to how important this “being seen” is. I truly hope that we will have the opportunity to work together at some point and raise mothers up so that they might see themselves more and in-turn see more of their children. Sending you lots of love always, Meghan

  2. Roanna Beckwith

    I truly enjoyed that piece. It reminds me of the time Caleb told me that adults don’t seem to listen to children like they do other adults. That children are second to them. This made me feel sad for him and gave me a good reminder to make sure not to do that. I think they should feel important and “seen”. There’s a poem that goes along with this story which I will share with you later. Thank you for the reminder Meghan. Much appreciated.

    1. meghannathanson Post author

      Roanna — I would love to see that poem. I think the very fact that Caleb shared his thoughts with you shows that you are one of the people he does feel “seen” by and we can always bring our attention back to this fact again and again. In writing, I remember how I want to live and I then see my boys more. Thank you for your continued support, always … Love, Meghan

  3. roannajean

    I truly enjoyed this piece. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Caleb about how adults seem to always put children second to other adults in conversations. I think he felt “unseen”. Thank you for the reminder. I have a poem you might enjoy that goes along with the conversation.

  4. Susa ( Kirschenbaum)

    Being seen is so essential, primarily and foremost as children. It is something I value and rely on in my close friendships and I have found it to be one of the non negotiables as I navigate my way in the relationship world. Hope to see you and all soon.
    Love, Susan

    1. meghannathanson Post author

      Dear Susan … I feel the same and am grateful to count you among the people in my life with whom I feel seen … I miss you and hope to see you soon as well. Sending you lots of love, Meghan


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