When I was smaller, and my eyes were closer to the ground, I walked through hills of fallen leaves. Under, between, and on top of the leaves were the brown and black seeds of the pecan trees. Some had fallen prematurely, and were protected from prying hands by their ash-colored pods. Others had tiny holes that revealed something had found its dinner inside the shell. It was a great quest to find the healthy hard shells, and the treasures within. By sqeezing two pecan nuts together, a boy could crack them both to reveal the sweet soft meat with a taste that suggets butter and caramel come from the same tree.
Today I eat Pecans of Merritt, a Christmas gift from my father’s sister, from a plastic bag. I feel the damp Autumn Oklahoma air. I see the pecan trees in my father’s yard, and I taste the sweetness of hundreds of seeds that lie in the grass among the leaves.