As dusk fell, it began to pour. The rain hit the ground with a massive force; an urban tsunami about to strike. The sun was setting, although no one could tell because of the dark clouds hanging low in the sky. A dreary day to say the least, all regular inhabitants of the streets hidden, escaping the buckets of bone-chilling water being tossed aimlessly from above. A tiny, pink worm, about 10 centimeters in size stretches it’s way out of the grass and into the streets. Unable to see, it rubs up against an acorn. Although blind to its colors, the worm works its body around the shell, feeling the variety of textures. A moist meteor splashes against the concrete less than an inch from the worm and washes it up into the miniature cave the acorn creates as it lays on its side.
Only moments later, after the worm becomes comfortable, remaining on the sidewalk, untouched by anything but drops of rain. A gust of wind picks up the acorn and flushes it down the street in a rushing river towards the city sewers. Sliding at top speeds down the curbside canal a bird spots the worm from high above the ground. It is only mid-February in the midwest, and no good rains have come to stir up the grass and dirt in many months. The bird changes its path and swoops down to pick it up. With a splash and a couple flaps of its wings, the worm, in its acorn, is taken by the black eyed bird with a single blue feather on its left wing.
The rain comes down harder and harder. The drops of rain sound like glass breaking as they hit the tops of houses and shops across the small city. The bird’s vision is violently skewed, which causes the bird to only hold onto the worm, while the brown and gold acorn is thrown to the ground in a panic move. As the acorn floats through the heavy rain clouds, the sighing winds and the pounding rain, believing the last stop will certainly be the cement on the street, a purple polka-dotted umbrella breaks its fall.
Sam looks up when she hears an unfamiliar bump on her umbrella, harder than the raindrops she’s been walking in on her way home from the coffee shop, where she works, back to her studio apartment, about three blocks away. Growing up as a sensitive girl, Sam is highly intuitive and even in the most chaotic of situations, she has the ability to notice the smallest details. She has incredible patience and wisdom, far beyond her years, however, with limited funds and family support, and at the age of twenty, she lives alone and works to save up in hopes of attending a university one day. Sam is also an artist. A painter and drawer – completely self-taught. She grew up raising herself and her younger sister Peggy, and while waiting to pick up her sister from school, seven years her minor, she would draw and draw. Go into her room today, half of her bookshelves would be filled with notebooks from past years of drawing and occasional painting – her highest valued possessions. Needless to say, she had a lot stored up inside her mind and had a heart that was open to all things. Sam was a girl who would sit in the rain and stare at the worms and the birds and be completely content. The cold, rain, snow, humidity, heat, whatever the midwest climate would throw her way, never kept her from spending time outside, people and animal watching.
With an umbrella in one hand, a freshly brewed coffee in the other, Sam carefully bends towards the ground to see the rather large gray-brown lump that lay on the soaking street. Setting the coffee down and sitting on the lip of a windowsill, she inspects what she thinks is a rock. Looking at it closer as the mud and specks of grass slide off its surface, she sees the little acorn that she holds in her hand. Sam sits, drenched from the water pounding down from the veranda above her head, soaking through her umbrella; she did not care that people through the window of the shop were appalled by her “stop and smell the roses” attitude.
Sam sits and admires this little acorn. It reminds her of times when she was about five or six years old, her biological father (her mother is now on her third husband and they live out in Seattle) would walk her to the park. They would sit on the creaky, aluminum swings and watch the squirrels running around. The duo would make up names for the squirrels, give them backstories and create their own imaginative plays.
“That one is Tom, okay daddy?” Sam would tug at her father’s shirt and he would nod with a smile. “And that one is Betty. They live together in their tree house and have three babies: Margie, Gerald, and Baby”.
Her father would laugh and continue the story with her, “And when they get up each morning they make blueberry pancakes and acorn pudding from the leftovers of the night before. The three babies go out to play and go to school, just like you do, big girl!”
Sam loved when her father called her that, big girl. It made her feel so important. Sam’s father would look at her with has oval shaped eyes, the color of roasted almonds, and would lean over and kiss the top of her head. In those moments, she knew that the world had to be full of something good. Something that made her father so amazing.
Her father’s attitude towards the world is what Sam really admired. He believed that everything was beautiful and wonderful and each detail was precious and worth taking the time to look at. This was the mindset that she kept with her to this day. Summer days walking with her father down neighborhood sidewalks were some of Sam’s best memories. Sitting in the rain now, holding onto the acorn, twiddling it within her fingers, she began to wonder why she was still holding it. It had been about twelve years since she last saw her father. She had tried so hard not to be mad and keep the positive outlook that she always admired so much in him. But some days, it seemed impossible. Days like today were impossible. Memories flooding her memories, creating a hurricane of emotion within her.
Lightning crashed and thunder rolled above the clouds. Sam took that as an invitation to begin walking home again. Although the acorn was what triggered her rage-filled flashbacks, good memories were stored in it somewhere too. She pushed it down into the pocket of her jeans, now soaked all the way through. As the raindrops created small streams and lakes along the ditches in the street, all Sam wanted to do was get home. The storm seemed to be clearing up, slightly. Nevertheless, she just wanted to be sitting on her bed, reading, and finishing up this cup of coffee. It had been a long day at work, it was the end of the month and bills needed to be paid, and she still needed to call her sister back. Peggy had called a few days ago but Sam wasn’t in the mood for talking so she let it go to voicemail.
Red, aged brick held her weight solidly as she climbed her way up to the front of her apartment complex. The jingling of her keys in the door lock made her next door neighbor’s yorkie start barking like like a rabid beast, Sam hated that 5-pound fur-rat so much. After changing into dry clothes, she wrapped herself in a blanket and rolled up in her daybed placed next to the window. She pulled the little acorn out of her wet pants pocket that now laid lifeless on the floor, drowned from the walk home. Sam loved the symmetry, the texture, the color, the way the acorn found her in the streets; she didn’t just come upon it in the road.
To most, an acorn would not be the greatest find, but to Sam, this little acorn had a story behind it. It came from somewhere before reaching the top of her umbrella today and had made it through the storm and who knows how many other storms? It was wonderful, beautiful, and precious. The way she viewed this little acorn now was the way her father taught her to look at things and how she longed to view every place and person. Although in this very moment, she did wonder one thing: during the storm today, what would it have been like to have a worm’s eye view?