The horse chestnut tree is releasing its fruit; for a month I have been passing by and picking up the fallen ones – I find them bounced on the concrete, scattered across the tarmac, cracked open along the seams, released from their fleshy enclosure, in the grass an eye opens in the gap. I have learnt to spot the freshly fallen kernels in the grass by looking for the whitest linings, not yet tarnished by sun and air, they lie open and empty, betraying the refuge of nut in earth, I fill my pockets. Each time I pass I am reminded by the massing shells of the bounty I have stolen. These massive seeds were destined for the council mower, a crushing and splitting and eventual return to the earth, not to seed and grow but to feed the mother tree in endless cycle of growth and production, without offspring. I feel my intervention and part in this cycle is one of thief and also, partially, savior. It’s compulsive, I can’t resist the glossy chestnut brown, the light in its skin best while fresh, the opening from the flesh, the unique smooth fingerprint of growing pattern across its tightly wrought surface, the sheer potential in its watery weight. The discovery of each one is a delicious hunt for treasure and pleasure in skin and eye.
We have had clear nights and the sky full of moon and Jupiter, whose orbit is in perigree, and at its nearest to earth since 1963. The nights are full of this light, the conkers are all released now with the waning of the moon. I will of course check in with them again tomorrow.
In the park the rowan stump wears a rosary someone else appears to care as much as me for the sad departure of a beautiful tree
green beads, wooden carved appear like echos of the berries that would be burning red right now, the Irish name for this tree is Luis, meaning flame.