I was walking from my house to university when I saw an elderly gentleman snatch something up from the ground with a look of sheer glee in his eyes. As I approached, I wondered what he had found that gave him such pleasure. On the ground were a few chestnuts and I immediately realised he must have spied and grabbed something of a prime example.
I always enjoy September. After completing my undergrad many many years ago, I moved back home to Ireland for a few months. Having spent the best part of my life (up to that point) in school, I found it highly unusual to have arrived at Autumn with no formal education to attend. There was a new sense of freedom with a fear of the unknown. The safety net of my yearly routine had been usurped by impending adulthood.
So yesterday I grabbed a particularly good chestnut from the ground, and after prying open it's spiky shell discovered it was, alas, just two small ones. I couldn't help but want to share in the elderly gent's excitement, bringing back memories of conker competitions at school, collecting the biggest chestnuts from the top of the trees, all the techniques and tricks (pickling in vinegar was supposed to make them tougher). The bittersweet sadness of finding out my prize chestnut was just two little ones felt like an echo of that time spent at home post-graduation. That and all of the emotions of September were defined in a single act. Somewhat appropriate to do this on the way to starting a Masters at university.