In September, the ninth month, our walks through the surrounding countryside brought a bonus. Fruition.
We have a number of paths to choose from when we go out for a walk, but all of them involve partly wandering through the outskirts of a village or two, partly walking down quiet roads between the villages, and mostly walking through, or around, vineyards.
This year we discovered that one of the paths between the vines leading back down the hill towards our house passes a handful of fig trees and a couple of walnut trees. In September the figs ripen and the walnuts fall to the ground. These are all wild trees growing beside the grassy paths which traverse the vines. And these paths are quiet paths. I can’t remember the last time I passed anyone else walking along them. This happy discovery meant that preparation before setting off on the walk changed a little bit. As well as putting on walking boots I’d put a couple of plastic bags in my pocket.
Every day, if we wanted, we could bring home a harvest of figs like the ones in this photo. Have you ever tasted fresh, wild figs? Delicious! When I was a boy growing up in Scotland the only figs I tasted were in a biscuit called a “fig roll” – that was the kind of biscuit you only ate when you were desperate and there were only kind left in the biscuit tin. I could force one down, but I didn’t really enjoy them. Well, fresh figs are NOTHING like “fig rolls”! Yet another experience which shows me the difference between what is natural and fresh, and what’s been processed and manufactured.
And fresh walnuts? Walnuts used to be my least favourite nut. They often seemed dry and tasteless, but fresh walnuts, picked up from the ground and eaten straight away are moist and delicious. Can you see a couple of them lying on the table in front of the figs?
There was one more treat I could pick up on my September walks – blackberries. The field next to my garden has a hedge running along two of its four borders, and both of those hedges are full of blackberry bushes. I didn’t include them in this photo but they made a great addition to the morning cereal bowl.
So, here’s my gratitude for the ninth month – the fruits and nuts which made my morning walks extra specially delicious!