Three small boys set off for a walk on an October weekend, welly-footed and grubby-fingered. Their destination was an avenue of tall Horse Chestnut trees, bronzed leaves falling onto the grass below. Amongst the leaves, the shiny brown treasure trove of a thousand conkers.
Little fingers winkled them out of their spiky shells, smoothing them gleefully. Every pocket was stuffed to bursting with this autumnal bounty, the scent of leaf-mould spilling out with them over the kitchen floor when we returned home.
The wild boys have gone, for the moment, in playground lines of crisp school uniform. The conkers remain, appearing in the laundry basket, falling out of coat pockets, resting in piles halfway up the stairs. Waiting for the return of the small hands that warm them. In my brief moments of pause, I wait too.