16th December 2022

Sometimes very straightforward things can be special and a source of wonder. I recall the shallow patterned bowl, full of mixed nuts, from childhood Christmas. In the evening Dad would ask us which sort of nut we would like him to open up for us – a smooth and shiny hazelnut, a wrinkly walnut, a pleasingly pointy ridged Brazil nut…?

Hazelnuts take me to Medieval English mystic, Julian of Norwich:

He showed me a little thing the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind’s eye and I thought,

‘What can this be?’

And the answer came, ‘It is all that is made’. I marvelled that it could last, for I thought it might have crumbled to nothing, it was so small.

And the answer came into my mind, ‘It lasts and ever shall because God loves it’. And all things have being through the love of God.

Martin Wroe has a modern day reflection on these words:

‘It is all that is made.’ That’s Julian, in Norwich
Tripping on a hazelnut in her 14th-century grip
My trip is this teabag, giving up its love
This perforated planet, in my steaming mug

Onward flight in the dark of compost bin,
With potato peel, onion and banana skin
From Sri Lanka or Kenya, this leafy supernova
Here in my kitchen, this miraculous stopover

The quiet humus of mineralisation
Organic breakdown, mostly just waiting
How earth flavours and fires this life every day
I get it, Julian, this teabag, how it’s all that is made

From Julian of Norwich’s Teabag

Ruth Allen