There is an image that haunts me. Walking across England nine years ago, I passed a young father and his very young son piling chestnuts into a fair size basket. The scene could not have been more quintessentially English. It was quite early in the morning and the mist still hung on the air, as it does over there, bringing closer into this dimension the spirits and fey folk.
The chestnut tree stood majestic and proud to the side of a fence,in a field belonging to an elementary school, probably their soccer yard. I walked into this incredibly romantic scene straight out of a Dickens novel, having just passed a stone bridge of some historical significance. My senses were on fire, I could feel, smell, taste something magical happening between the boy, his father, the tree, and me. I knew that it would be one of those moments in my life that I would go back to time after time. It was simply beautiful. It touched me in places unknown to me, deep in my heart center. This field had known other mystical esperiences. It had made history before. The chord of ‘simple beauty’ that was struck in me that day still resonates, all the unknown and unimaginable beings present in that moment of time where there to create a mystery. The mystery that happens when we acknowledge and live respectfully with nature. The bounty of that chestnut tree was shared by who knows how many, it was not left wasteful on the ground, indeed it fed the mouths and spirits of all who partook.
I believe in harvesting from the hedgerows, from the random places where free food is offered, with respect for the continuance of future harvests of course. That day, the mist, the man and his boy and the chestnut tree opened up a portal to the in-between. It was fleeting, but left an indelible mark on my soul.