My Chinese Chestnut tree is finally beginning to bear a good amount of nuts. After a few frosty nights, about half of the nuts have fallen to the ground; the other half is still clinging to the tree. I collected the ones that had fallen on the ground.
With a thick pair of leather gloves, I set out to open the spiny shells (technical term is cupule or burr) that are protecting the nuts. You really don’t want to touch them with unprotected hands.
Removing the hostile covering was a tedious process as few of the nuts were fully opened. Some of them needed to be pried open with a pair of scissors; others fell open with a little bit of pressure applied. As I was working with them, I became intrigued with the sensuous nature of chestnuts in their shell.
Doesn’t this one look like a baby crowning in the birth canal?
I quickly learned not to bother with the smaller, lighter burrs because they mostly held tiny, undeveloped chestnut babies, like these:
The larger, weightier ones held at least one, sometimes two, large chestnuts inside:
The luscious, lustrous brown nuts looked like pieces of chocolate to me:
or like large precious seeds lining up to be strung into a necklace:
Some of the emptied shells appeared like cocoons that had recently released their new life into the world:
A close-up of the hair-lined inner chamber in stark contrast to the sharp spines on the outside:
The chestnut mother tree knows exactly how to cradle her precious seed babies in a soft womb environment and how to protect them with fierceness against any intruders. Not much different from how we human mamas hold and protect and defend our babies.