The Chestnut Years

There were two falls a few years ago when my son was obsessed with chestnuts.

The pre-school had an enormous chestnut tree in the backyard and it yielded dozens of beautiful chestnuts to collect and to carry in pockets and buckets.

Wordlessly, that tree introduced my son to the word chestnut.  "This thing here I am giving you, that thing you are smoothing with your thumb is what they call a chestnut."

The glossy brown sheen of chestnuts entered his lexicon of childhood in a way that it had never entered mine.

Now, as I walk to work and pass by chestnuts on the ground, I pick one up so that I can rub my thumb over its smooth surface for the rest of the way. I remember that time of his learning about chestnuts.

I learned the word chestnut at the same time.