9.16.2010

CHESTNUTS


People often ask how they can incorporate Slow Love into their daily lives. What I am trying to get at, with Slow Love, is a form of mindfulness, one that doesn't come of meditation, really, but rather from paying attention to the gifts all around us, everywhere, every day. I can appreciate the benefits of going to an ashram, or joining a religious retreat. But the problem starts when you rejoin the world: how to hold on to that sense of serenity and connectedness to something deeper and greater than your own small life? So I've approached it from the other direction--not by retreating from the world, but rather from being more open to it, in more focused ways.

Yesterday I crunched my way across a friend's lawn, and peered down to see what was causing the trouble under my shoes, only to find a scattering of chestnuts, fallen early from their tree in the intense heat of the last week. I brought a few home to study and admire them for a while. Their color is rich and gorgeous; they have a burnished patina. They're sexy little things, aren't they? It suddenly struck me that they seem to be wearing thongs! They look a bit intimidating, with those medieval spikes on their shells. They are hard to crack. You have to wait until they are ready, and then they burst open and give forth their riches. Just like some of us.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dominique, There is nothing "deeper or greater than your own small life" and thinking that there is can be the cause of so much unnecessary searching and feeling that there must be something else. Why must there be something greater? Your life, the mere fact that you are here, is the most amazing thing there is.

willow said...

Indeed sexy!! Beautiful post.

karensandburg said...

I find that left chestnut particularly alluring ...

pve design said...

As a kid, walking to school, we would collect these and I have such fond memories of that smooth buck-eye within. We all have to let go in order to find the smooth within. Have a lovely day Dominique.

One Woman's Journey said...

Love this post. Many times I mention meditation on my post - but what I really mean is what you shared. Have a lot of things falling from the trees in my woods but do not think I have any chestnuts. Excellent image. Have a wonderful day.

Ashling said...

I love it!! I've been so caught up in work the last few months that I need reminders like this post. Thank you!

Linda said...

I had to laugh at the thought of them wear little thongs! Yes it looks like that--but I never would have seen it! You help us notice all the delightful little details around us. Thank you for sharing!

SweetRetreat said...

They are wearing thongs! Quite kinky ones at that. Only someone taking time to keenly observe would discover such detail. Love your posts, and book. I am slow reading it again.

Layanee said...

I have found that thongs and cellulite are not a winning combination however, that photo proves me wrong. Still chuckling...

Jean Gogolin said...

Once I found a chestnut under a tree in Siena, and kept it for years. Every once in a while I would just touch that smoothness -- they're such a beautiful shape.

I wonder how the expression "old chestnut" came into being? off to Google to look it up.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at Boston's College Club shortly.

Charlotte K said...

Somewhere in Little Women, the character Jo is described as being like a chestnut, prickly on the outside but sweet within. I think of that passage every time I see these.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Well, jeepers.
They are wearing thongs.

Marnie said...

two weeks ago i came across a chestnut tree in cambridge, ma when i was walking with my daughter. we quickly gathered up handfuls - filled her empty water bottle and our pockets and then took them back to our respective desks - we think of our walk when we look at our chestnuts...i am an empty-nester this year so looking at them reminds me of my sweetie-pie. i love the look and feel of chestnuts. the points on the shells are sharper than i remember. as a girl we went to the local chestnut tree every year to gather chestnuts - i still have some of my early stash - do you remember the line in pride and prejudice about running to the chestnut tree? one of mr darcy's ideas of boyhood fun too!

Barbara said...

Imagine a six foot sculpture that looked just like this. It would be awesome!

quintessence said...

I will never look at a chestnut the same way again - little thongs indeed. My sister-in-law's mother makes a fabulous cream of chestnut soup at Thanksgiving - reminds me I must try and nab the recipe.

Reggie Darling said...

I adore chestnuts, and have happy memories of picking them up and filling bowls with their glossy brown beauty, where I would enjoy them for months. It was only later that I learned how to cook with them, and they are now a regular part of my autumnal cooking (MS's lamb stew with chestnuts is outta this world). I still buy bags of roasted ones from vendors in NYC when I (infrequently) come across them.

Jayne said...

Thank you for the chestnut introspection! Made me look at my daughter's childhood dresser made of chestnut a little closer this morning. What a pleasure to hear the spoken word, SLOW LOVE, last night in New Canaan. You were terrific! We listened, laughed, and loved.
CHecking my favorite blogs this morning was startling - to see Rue. How aptly named....I rue the demise of House & Garden, and yet I feel doors are opening (windows if we think of computers!) even while some have closed. New ideas, new ways.... I will try to stay contemporary without forsaking all the wisdom of the past....just as you suggest, slowly savoring it all!

lifeonthecutoff said...

Such an evocative posting on such a thorny, prickly nut that always make me start humming "chestnuts roasting on an open fire" and start yearning for my Greek grandmother's incredible chestnut stuffing. No chestnut trees here, but, the walnut trees will certainly bear more circumspect inspection on my next walk.

Lovely post, for which I thank you.

david terry said...

To "Barbra"

Actually, there IS at least one large (3 or so feet, as I recall)sculpture of a chestnut burr. I saw it a few years ago in someone's garden. It's made out of rough bronze, and the nuts are polished bronze. It's quite lovely (if more than a bit menacing looking....it isn't one of those pieces of art that beckons "Please caress and sit on me").

Still, it pales in comparison to the giant acorn sculpture in Raleigh, NC. That thing is the size of a volkswagen (actually, a bit bigger) and was/is the endlessly facinating product of some "famous" sculptor's complex imaginative process.

He was paid some ungodly-big sum to create a sculpture which might somehow "symbolize" Raleigh (which is nicknamed "The City of Oaks").

Folks have been completely whelmed by the thing since its unveiling.

If nothing else, though, it doesn't create any controversy or scandal, which is a great relief after decades of Senator Jesse Helms, followed by Senator John Edwards....

Sincerely,

David Terry
www.davidterryart.com

LeeAnn said...

I have a special affinity for chestnuts, because I grew up in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where chestnut trees grow freely. On my walk to elementary school in the fall, we girls would collect chestnuts and have them made into chestnut necklaces (daddies with drills were in high demand this time of year.) Funny, I never noticed chestnut tree blossoms when I was a girl. That came much later, in Paris, in springtime.

Cristina said...

...I don't want to be Miss Fussy, but those in the photo aren't plain chestnuts: they are from the "horse-chestnut tree".
I don't think one could eat them either roasted or in a soup, not being a horse. ;-)
What I know is that there's a tradition saying that if you pick up one in this season and keep it always in your pocket 'till the winter ends, you wont' get a cold.
(by the way, I did choose mine this very week end!)

red ticking said...

i have often eaten them while in nyc.. i love the aroma while wandering about there... today is fun to actually see them in their pod/shell state awaiting their harvest... as always, you give us more and more to think about... and always so refreshing.

xx pam

mmaggiechristy said...

The Horse Chestnut (shown in photo) is poisonous!

Nancy EB said...

speaking of things falling from the sky.. we live on a street of huge oaks and its comical to walk while being pelted by acorns. Loved your talk last night at the College club in Boston. Thank you so much for signing the books.