A Basketful of Acorns

Peter Leavell, a 2007 graduate of Boise State University with a degree in history, was the 2011 winner of Christian Writers Guild’s Operation First Novel contest, and 2013 Christian Retailing’s Best award for First-Time Author. Peter and his family live in Boise, Idaho. www.peterleavell.com.

A man held an acorn in his palm. His stomach rumbled, and he squeezed the nut in hopes to crack the shell. He paused.

What did he really have? Food, yes, but more—he could grow a tree. The tribe sometimes looked to him to solve their problems. You’re so patient, they had said. Talented.

So he planted. And waited.

by Amphis

There were moments of excitement. The first sprout. His friends crowded around to look at the growing tree, and they congratulated him for thinking ahead, for planning. They almost saw his vision.

But trees take a long time to grow. Winters came, and as the tribe shivered with cold, he wouldn’t let anyone cut down the sapling to burn for warmth. During the summers, when the droughts scorched the throats of his friends, he kept the tree alive with what little water he could spare. To his friends, the tree was now a burden. Its spindly branches barely offered shade, they said. Or food. Give up.

Caring for the tree became habit long before he wanted to give up.

One summer, the branches drooped heavy with acorns. He picked them as others congratulated his success. But he paused. Thinking long and hard had produced a tree—what more could be done now that he had a basketful of acorns?

Tamme-Lauri: Oldest Oak in
Estonia (1326AD)
Source: Wikicommons
by Abrget47j

He handed them out to everyone in his tribe. Grow trees, he said, and explained to them how he’d been patient. He taught them how best to grow the trees, and gave those who were interested little tips and tricks he’d learned over the course of the tree’s life.

Most trees the tribe grew wilted and died from lack of water or neglect, since many in the tribe were gifted in pottery or building. But yet, some trees grew, depending on the owner’s dedication. There were enough trees over the years that the tribe was surrounded with healthy oak trees. Not only did they produce acorns to eat, they made acorn pudding, acorn tea, and acorn flour. Lumber and food was traded to their neighbors.

The man remembered his hopes of growing a tree from the tiny acorn. He’d done so much more than grow a tree. He’d grown a civilization.

How powerful is an idea? A writer’s journey and growth stems from his or her idea, and as it takes shape, changes the world. Don’t dismiss or give up on your dreams. You cannot guess what can happen, except if you do give up. 

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His only desire is to live quietly on his homestead and raise horses. He meets Anna, a beautiful young woman with secrets of her own. Falling in love was not part of his plan. Can Philip tell her how he feels before it’s too late?
With Anna a pawn in the corrupt schemes brewing in the nearby Dakota town, Philip is forced to become a reluctant gunslinger. Will Philip’s uncannily trained horses and unsurpassed sharpshooting skills help him free Anna and find out what really happened to his family out there in the wilderness?