Hello. Thanks for giving yourself to me: from tree, and the tree that begat that, and on, and on, to the beginning of walnut-time, and to the time that begat that time. And, after such a MASSIVE journey, from before walnut-time . . .
here in so and so you my noble yet humble are hand
A much larger cousin of yours was handed round my geography class 40-odd years ago. We had to guess what this strange, dark, rock-hard creation was. It turned out to be a whole Brazil nut pod, housing all the individual nuts inside, rattling in the darkness, waiting to be freed. I had no idea of ‘Brazil’ before that day. So, the teacher had cleverly used one of your relations to transport us, all the human ‘nuts’ in that classroom in Devon, across the nut-shaped globe . . .
Many moons ago, in the highest mountains of North Africa, quite by chance, I met a walnut man. I had not eaten much for days. I had just wandered a little below the snowline, in the heat of the day, above the snow-melt water-meadows where thousands of miniature wild daffodils were growing, like a constellation of golden stars.
Then, like a scene from a spaghetti western, out of the heat haze with the burning sun behind, there appeared the silhouette of a man on a donkey in the far distance, trotting very slowly towards me with two large sacks either side of his loyal beast’s back. He had quite literally come out of nowhere. As he passed he gently touched his lips and I then produced some tobacco. In return he furnished me with countless of your brothers and sisters: walnuts. No words were spoken. He then disappeared leaving me to gorge myself on his sweet cargo. Later I followed the trail he had made which led me down a sheer rock face and, finally, to the shelter of a valley where I came upon him kneeling on top of a rocky outcrop praying to the east as the sun was setting.
Dominic Orr has lived in South Devon, UK, since 1972. Having studied at Dartington Hall, he graduated from Brunel University in the 1990s and worked in film, radio and television production. In the last 20 years he has worked in China, Libya, and Spain. He currently runs his own business. https://www.dominicorr.com
Words and photos © Dominic Orr 2021.