From a distance, across the grassy meadow alongside the river that floods with winter rains and makes walking through the accumulated sand underfoot difficult, the oak tree I want bristles with light. It winks as if with a thousand pointed eyes. Come here. Come. Come. Come. Something lighter flashes against the darker green of the canopy. Something wants me to come.

Isn’t that how it is? You want the world. But the world also wants you. I went out to hike the canyon, following the well-worn dirt path packed with holes (the sign at the trailhead: Watch out for rattlesnakes.). I was flanked by burgeoning wild radish and the summer-fried remains of vines revealing the coyote melons they had grown beneath their once-turquoise blue leaves now exposed here and there and everywhere, waiting for the sun to crack them open and spill their bitter seeds. At some point I turned right instead of left, beckoned by the world to come onto an animal trail (deer? coyote? deer fleeing coyote? coyote following deer?), up a scrabbled slope of loose rock and dirt, pawed and scratched at along my hips and thighs by the chapparal, the dried branches of the greasewood and the California buckwheat, the scented sage and the brittle stems of head-high mustard, until the path descended into meadow, a little Arcadia: flowing water, lush grasses, a grove of coast live oak trees. And in particular this one, the one that wants me, the one that winks. Come. Come. Come.

As I got closer, weaving along a waving single-file trail hidden in the tall bending grasses to anyone but the one walking on it, I understood better. The oak tree wanted to give me their seed. Plant it in me. Shower me with it. The winking eyes were dagger-long acorns that shone chestnut-gold in the light. Long lewd seeds ready to poke at the world, insistent. Come. Come. Come.

A newcomer to this west coast scene, I had only ever held acorns in my hand that were rounded heavy balls wrapped in bristly, hairy caps. Those east coast seeds were nothing like these in front of me, inches long and torpedoed, like Madonna’s bustier or a jocked-up cock. I couldn’t tell which, but either way I was hooked. I wanted them and they wanted me. Come. Come. Come.

They popped off easily, eager to be taken. I had a bag with me (I almost always have a bag with me in case something picks me up, asks me to pick it up), and so I began to pick them – one, two, three, four in a hand – until they spilled. Into the bag went what stayed in my hand, and onto the ground what fell. I made a rule for myself: if it slipped from my fingers, I never bent down to pick it up for my bag. The torrid sway of twig and hand and seed might feel like a romance of just two, but I knew we were swaying in an orgy. There were lots of mouths here, lots of wants. We should all be satisfied. Come. Come. Come.

I was seed-hungry (lusting for acorn pancakes, acorn cookies, acorn pudding, acorn oatmeal), eager to strip one branch with my left hand pinning it down so my right hand, already overflowing with seeds, could slide along its length, while my eyes were already scanning for the next branch to grab. Greed? Maybe. But my five-foot-eight frame could at best range up to seven feet or so and this oak lover of mine must have been at least forty feet tall. I was playing in the lower reaches of their crown. Who knew who their lovers in the upper reaches were? They were so generous in their attention: to me in the shadow of their immensity; to the birds and breezes and insects that cruised their upper regions in the hot sun; to the gophers and rattlesnakes and arthropods and fungi and bacteria underground sidling up to the cool lengths of their roots; to the weevil larva that even now in some of these seeds springing from twig to hand to bag were slowly eating their way around their acorn, their home, their world. No different really then me or the birds or the gopher or the tree itself, all of us wrapped in the seed of the world, coming to it hungry. Come. Come. Come.

I am a bear in the woods, my sack heavy with seed. I remind myself of the tanuki, totem of wealth and happiness in Japanese folklore, standing with a dazed wide-eyed smile of bliss, his little dick insignificant above the massive, full balls so big they rest on the ground. A sack full of seed: what good fortune! Gifts pour from Santa’s sack. Whatever is needed emerges from Hotei’s sack. Here on a sunny, late-autumn San Diego day, blue expanse above lit through with the light of a sun still potent enough to draw sweat and dusty earth below thirsty for the winter rains just on the cusp of breaking but not here yet – what else is there to do? With no other people around, I slipped my t-shirt up over my head feeling first breeze then sun, first on my belly then my chest then my shoulders. The air currents pulled at the hairs on my torso, each a live nerve being caressed. The sun excited and lulled at once, the heat arousing but also like a salve liquifying on contact. I undid my belt with a thick cluck of its tongue, unbuttoned my shorts and let them fall to my feet which shucked them off. Then underwear. And there I am, tucked away in an off-trail canyon in a grove of towering coast live oaks in a meadow by a small stream, a bear in the woods alive with sun and air and a heavy ten-pound sack of seeds heavy at my feet. What else to do? Come. Come. Come.

Having been given, give. Feeling fortunate, freely forward it. When the world comes for you, come back. The sun shattered, the blue opened, the dusty ground was spattered with thick strands of white. Dazed gaze and tongue lolling like a tanuki, I leaned back on my hands and felt the tininess of my contribution, but I was satisfied to have had something to offer to the orgy around me. Within a few minutes the semen sank into the ground and darkened it, as if it were drops of winter rain that arrived early to herald the storms still a few weeks away. And ants began to gather, large black ones, inspecting and surveying this unexpected boon they happened upon, having taken a trail on a whim. Here was a sizable cache of moisture and protein glistening and glinting in the sun, winking at them, saying, Come. Come. Come. And so they came.