The acorn knows not the shape of its rings, Not the summer it was hot and dry and dusty, or the one when the rain never stopped, or the one with storms that split sky and shook root. Not the winter the snow was thick like a blanket, or the one with rime so heavy the forest bowed to the ground, or the one with driving ice and bitterest cold. The acorn knows not the twining of roots, the silent seismic jostling of rocks, the languid cascade of hillside into creekbed, the fire that once burned half the valley. What courage its sires then, knowing. What gift of trust in seasons immemorial, to strengthen, to shape, to grow, and for a time to wear the same rings.