horse chestnut

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

perfect smooth soft chestnuts and their spiky coverings

I have a large Horse Chestnut tree in my front yard and this time of year the ground is littered with chestnuts, many still in their spiky green ball of protective coating, some that are cracked open revealing the amazing treasure inside and many shiny bare nuts, just waiting for moisture and their second life to begin. The Horse Chestnut, it would seem, is a very efficient tree at propagating new little chestnut trees. I clearly remember gathering chestnuts as a child, from a wooded lot just down the street from my house on Pleasant St. and how it seemed incredible that something so perfect, so shiny and polished could appear out of that craggy ball of green spikes. We would carry these balls to the sidewalk and gently step on them, gradually increasing our weight, just until they cracked open and then prying with our fingers to reveal the treasures inside. Sometimes in amazement we'd find two nuts inside, one large and flattened at one end and then another little baby chestnut nestled in beside it. We would rub them on our face to feel how incredibly smooth and perfect they were and we'd gather huge armfuls, carrying them in a basket made from the fronts of our sweaters or jackets. I can remember using a large darning needle and trying to make a big beaded necklace out of them or just a garland of shiny clunking nuts. In the end we would take them home and proudly display our newly found treasure in a bowl, we had plans to keep them but they didn't stay shiny and perfect and new ...within days they turned dull and ordinary ... and now I can see that so much of childhood, the thing that has us have such fond clear memories, is that we were experiencing, as only children can, that life isn't about the destination ... it's about the journey.

1 comment:

  1. We used to do that as kids too! We were incredulous that they could not be used for something special as they looked every bit like they could.

    We also attached them with small ropes to long sticks and used them to bash each other with...we were strange wild kids. Total tomboys, with only boys for neighbours...always covered in bruises. Just plain weird.


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