I purposefully walk on acorns to feel them under my feet and to hear them crunch. If I land on them just right with the middle part of my heel, even if I'm wearing my cushioned walking shoes, they make a very satisfying popping sound. This type of walking makes my gait very irregular. My walking buddies look at me like I'm out of my mind as I take small steps and then large ones, all measured to gain the most volume from stepping on and popping as many of them as I can. It leaves a bit of a mess behind, I must admit, but it is a simple pleasure I allow myself to indulge in.
Acorns make me happy. When I was five or six years old, I used to carry one of Mom's large kitchen bowls into the woods to collect them. I picked them out from under the leaves where they were hiding and gathered the beautiful smooth brown nuggets by the hundreds. The first ones plinked into my bowl, and as I found more and more, they made less sound as they were added to the collection. When a gratifying number had been amassed, I squatted in the woods along the path where I had collected them, and ran my hand through the acorns to feel their smooth hulls. I scooped them up in my hands from the bowl by the dozens, letting them fall between my fingers back in to the bowl, clanging against the side. I pretended to cook with them, measuring, stirring, rolling them between my hands. They were magnificent. Often, I lugged my collection of nuts home where they lost some of their magic when I had to relinquish the bowl which allowed them to make such beautiful music.
We sang about acorns (donguri) in preschool. Doguri Koro Koro is a song about an acorn who falls out of a tree and ends up in a puddle. He (it is a little boy acorn wearing a hat) is all alone there in the puddle and troubled, until a little guppy comes along and plays with him.
Donguri koro koro Donguri ko
Oike ni tamatte, saa, taihen!
Dojoo ga dete kite, "Konnichiwa,"
Botchan issho ni asobimashoo!
In a way, I still play with acorns on my walks, and I think they have little friendly personalities. I seek them out and a smile crosses my lips when I encounter them. I just don't bring them home anymore.