Monday, October 17, 2005


I grew up in Pennsylvania, land of the Buck-eye. I had a huge chestnut tree right in my yard, and it brought me many seasons of joy. The spring brought large, conical clusters of flowers which the bees devoured just outside my window. I would stand there as a small girl in cotton undies and a t-shirt at naptime, listening to the buzzing of the bees.

When the spiny balls dropped to the ground they burst open and Supreme Newness would fall out. Silky to the touch, shiny, almost oily, the chestnuts with their burled wood designs would call out to me. I would collect shopping bags full of them and arrange them in piles and circles. I would study each one , feel the damp, spongy white spot, smell them, put them to my lips and rub the skin over mine.

I would also chuck them at Tommy next door. Over the hedge, ducking furiously down, whipping them at the side of his house until he emerged, I would pelt him with a rain of chestnut bullets.

Today I collected these, and remembered the joys of my youth when the leaves fell in crispy colored bunches and the spiny orbs dropped revealing a beauty that would fade in time, only to return every year.


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