September 11, 2016

Simple Things

A little lane with -what turned out to be - walnut trees
I come from a place where all edible things are found in supermarkets. You want to eat, you go to the grocery store. There were some orchards around with cherries, apples and pears, but those belonged to farmers and thus ‘technically’ not available. I did not grow up with the notion that of food equals nature; these were two entirely different concepts. 
When I was young, I remember once seeing an orange in the store that had the little stem with one leave still attached. I was totally mesmerized by that. “Wow,”  I was thinking, “it comes from a tree! To go out into the woods and gather your own food is an alien notion.

Now I live in a place where that link is a lot shorter. Seeing bananas and oranges just growing on trees was an eye-opener for me. On trees!!! You cannot imagine what a joy that gives you when you come from an urban consumers society where food is shipped in, as if it comes out of factories.

Walnut trees against the mountain ridge

Like this morning. As I was walking the dogs, I noticed a man with a stick in a tree along my route. Why on earth would he be climbing a tree with a stick, I was wondering, as I walked on. Reliving his youth? Something got stuck there?

Then I found a walnut on the ground. Again, this surprise. Why would there be a walnut here? Did anyone walk around eating walnuts and dropped one? 
And then I see a round green thing, the size of a prune, and suddenly it dawned on me! Walnuts! They grow on trees! These were walnut trees and the guy was gathering walnuts!!

I got my bag, and started gathering too. First the ones on the ground, than the ones I could pick from the branches myself, and pretty soon I was whacking at branches to get my stash with childlike enthusiasm.

I had to Google how to get that thick husk of the shell, but I got it all organized, and I now have my own stash of freshly harvested walnuts! How simple, yet how rich I feel.

My stash

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