Sometimes we harvest not to feed our bodies, but simply to fill our hearts.
The kids and I returned to “the conker tree” yesterday, much by chance. I noticed we were only a few blocks away, and I quietly took a short detour. As we approached, a delighted voice from the seat beside me called out, “The conker tree!” I smiled, and pulled the car to the curb. We piled outside, and dropped to our knees on the husk- and leaf-strewn grass. No explanation was needed. Only the sight of this tree that we once loved.
This horse chestnut tree was our treasure trove when the kids were small and we still lived in town. They would fill their pockets on every autumn walk with the smooth, shiny nuts. I would fill mine too, unable to resist the temptation of their weight in my palm. Returning home, we would pour them into baskets and wooden bowls, and the toy shelf would be restocked for another year.
No longer 6, 2, and 35, we are suddenly 16, almost 12, and 45.
It takes my breath away.
The tree, of course, is ten years older too, but I doubt she’s keeping track. And standing here, beneath these branches, with horse chestnuts raining down on us as our laughter rises up, this old tree spun its magic once again. And pockets and shirttails and baskets were filled, along with our hearts.
No, no, we can’t eat them. But there’s more to nourishment than food.