All these years, I’ve been jogging, walking, biking and driving up and down the same road that leads to our house. And other than looking for ripe berries, potential chanterelle spots and the occasional windfall tree, the roadside foliage usually passes in a green blur of underbrush and tree trunks. Mostly salmonberry, thimble berry, salal and ferns.
The other day, as I was suffering through my couple-times-a-week jog, something caught my eye. Something a little out of place, a kind of frilly bud or something hanging from what I suddenly realized was a hazel tree. I looked closer. Hazel nuts! Green, but definitely hazel nuts.
Then I thought I should look for more, and realized, somehow in my subconscious, I knew exactly where every hazel tree along the road was. My brain had been recording the information, but I didn’t know to even access it. Once I started following that stored information, I realized the hazels were everywhere. Probably 10 or 15% of the roadside shrubbery was made up of hazels. And they all have nuts growing on them. Not a lot, just a few per tree, but if the squirrels don’t get ’em all first, I’m going to attempt a harvest in late summer or early fall. Amazing how easy it is to miss things purely because it hasn’t occurred to you to look for them.