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  • Writer's pictureC. Jensen

Its where my head is at

Deep autumnal nutty mellow greetings

to you,

from the river. It is fall here, officially,

but a warm fall. I wonder

how much too warm,

it is.

How too like summer, too unlike

the precursor to winter

it is.

How much the color, the pattern

the slither of the snake of fall

has changed

since even last year.

Its where my head is at.

We have been collecting these



errantly bright green

shagbark hickory nuts.

In order to slowly,

meticulously make a single

large zucchini and hickory nut loaf.

To eat, perhaps with butter. Perhaps

I will even place the butter

in the oven

for hours

and make a perfect

golden ghee,

instead. And only then

slather the toasty brown slice

in fat.

The nuts are very labor intensive to extract, but light,

sweet and nutty—

they remind me of maple, and also pistachios, but not as herbal.

Plus, pistachios are always cuddling up

to some exotic mint or savory fruit vinegar.

Such is their nature, their indigeneity.

It is interesting to put so much effort into something.

Nuts are supermarket abundant,

even the coops have them in plenty,

and you can buy them shelled and perfectly salted.

California's aquifers deliver.

The export market is crucial.

But these nuts,

drank only

ever increasing

Vermont rain.

It is a mast year. Acorns rain down from oaks, the sound just like

a sudden summer storm

coming down quick

making us laugh in surprise

at how fast we are

completely wet.

The green shagbark hickory nuts lay

in Dionysian piles

on rock walls in the woods.

Next year will be a mast year

for chipmunks.

And then,

boom and bust,

they will die by the hundreds.

So what does it mean to do this collecting,

this waiting for the husk to dry, this finicky picking at the hull

to get at the sweet,

sparse meat?

Treating it like a normal thing to do

slowly, and with little external


It is necessary.

Its where my head is at. 

The shagbark hickory nut shells did produce

a beautiful Van Dyke-like

brown ink

that I will be using

on the next interpretation

of your words.

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