My new house has a large tree in the front yard. When we first moved in, it was covered with little snake-like fuzzy green things that were interesting to the eye. Then they fell off, and it was just a tree. Over the last two weeks, it started to drop green, prickly balls all over the driveway, like rolled-up porcupines. They slowly opened up and revealed a brown, shiny nut. Chestnuts! I have chestnuts on my property!
   I never ate chestnuts before. I don’t even know what to do with them. But the Christmas song keeps popping in my head; they’re supposed to be roasted on an open fire, and they create an atmosphere.
   Yesterday afternoon, I decided to harvest them. Many had been squished by our cars driving back and forth; most of the prickly balls were open and empty by now. I wore gloves and collected them all. Some were half-open, and still had one, or two, or even three chestnuts in them. I carefully extracted the nuts and dropped them in a bucket. I went on a hunt thoughtout my yard and discovered that i was full of beautiful, shiny chestnuts just waiting to be picked up. My bucket was full within a couple of hours.
   I had so much fun working in the cool, autumn air. I am not sure what was so wonderful about the afternoon. It reminded me of when my kids were little and we would go on mushroom hunts, or apple hunts. It made me look forward to the grandkids coming home. Most of all, it was a simple, earthy pleasure. Being outside and away from all of the obligations of my week, I concentrated on the sheer joy of the moment. It did me good.
   I think I’m going to roast my chestnuts now. Maybe I’ll even make a cup of tea, and invite some good friends to share in the moment. I only have today today.



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