Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Allegory of the Acorn
Not everyone who visits this blog is a writer, I know that, but I’m pretty sure everyone that comes here creates something. They love to take some thing and shape it into a new thing. We engineer it. We mold it. We write it. We arrange it. We preserve it. We paint it. Something in our makeup craves creativity.
But to create something takes time. It takes effort. And that can get discouraging.
I know at least for me it’s been discouraging. Books in my head are nearly planned out, but still I must build them sentence by sentence on paper. And then once I’ve done that, I have to virtually rewrite it so that it sounds good and reads well. It becomes more complicated than that, but the point is that it’s discouraging when you want the darn thing written yesterday not several months or years from now.
Today I decided to celebrate my growth instead of how far I still need to go. (Yeah, I know, I’ve been in a celebratory mood lately.)
Here’s an inspiring thought:
Consider an acorn. It’s a small seed that gradually grows into a large and mighty tree. Its branches reach skyward, braving the heights other plants dare not go. Its roots dig deep and spread wide to support the massive trunk. It takes centuries for the tree to grow into its full expanse, but that doesn’t stop it from working at it each day. Each stage the oak tree is only as small as it ever will be. As a seed, as sprout, as a sapling, it’s constantly growing.
Now consider a sunflower. Sunflowers grow in disturbed areas, a primary succession plant that spreads rapidly with a shallow root system. The weed topples under any kind of duress and in a season or two it is replaced by longer-lived or more complex plants. A sunflower cannot aspire to be a tree; a sunflower cannot aspire to outlive its season. It can only shine in the short time it’s given.
My message: cultivate your craft. One day at a time. Whatever your endeavor, whether it’s writing or not, start as an acorn and take comfort in the fact that in this very moment, you are only as small as you’ll ever be. Your talent can only grow from here. And just like an oak tree, you’ll build the roots and the height to outlast the sunflowers that come and go.