I have had cause to think about hazelnuts recently. I see their fallen shells crushed on the woodland floor beneath my feet as I trudge through late autumn trees, admiring colours, kicking leaves, stopping to watch a hungry squirrel find his secret stash. Every time I see them I think of a passage from Julian of Norwich. In a vision Julian sees God holding something insignificant in his hand, it turns out to be the whole of the universe.
"And in this he showed me something small, no bigger than a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand, as it seemed to me, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with the eye of my understanding and thought: What can this be? I was amazed that it could last, for I thought that because of its littleness it would suddenly have fallen into nothing. And I was answered in my understanding: It lasts and always will, because God loves it; and thus everything has being through the love of God."
I love that passage. It has made the hazelnut the most romantic nut I know. I can never see them, nor even their discarded shells without thinking about love and eternity. It makes a walk through an autumn forest quite an emotional adventure. It lasts and always will because God loves it.
Another quote has been haunting me recently. All This Life And Heaven Too quoted it in a beautiful peace about waking before the dawn. Faith is the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark. For me this expresses completely those moments when you celebrate the future before it has come to pass. The quote resonates profoundly with me. I long for peace and rest, and I long to be less busy, but in the same moment I am truly rested and at peace because I know my time will come. Advent is always busy, yet soon I will rest with those I love, and celebrate Christmas and New Year, quietly and simply. I sleep deeply at the moment, perhaps because I am so tired, but when I come home from work I am quick to completely forget the stresses and strains of the day. My weekends are jam packed with appointments to work, care for those I love, do chores, drive around half the country (average weekend mileage, err 300 ish?). Yet, amidst all that I am happy, full of hope for the future and walking steadily towards it. Like I say, my time will come.
Next time I see a hazelnut I am going to pick it up and keep it in my pocket. Unless I give it to someone I love. And it will last forever. So many things last because of love.
I am looking after the my niece and nephew tonight, and they are sleeping soundly up the stairs. Whilst they have been dreaming I have been making a chicken curry to give to my parents tomorrow. They are under the weather at present, and I thought they would need a meal or two in the freezer to see them through the week. I am going to make them a bolognese sauce too. I'd share the recipes for these things, but that they are so simple and you can look them up anywhere. Why not just make a quick treat for someone you know affected by the winter lurgies? I have a few cures recorded here and here