This morning called out to me as a “pick me, pick me!” blueberry morning. After searching over the east coast of Boston for the most “authentic” farm I could find (when I say authentic, I refer to one that resonates with my inner being ). Last night, I clicked on a link and thought, “YES! This is the one.”
When I drove out this morning, it really and truly was a fantastic site. Rustic, rural, charming, bohemian-beautiful – plus, their produce is grown using organic methods. Resonant indeed. When I was driving up ( most definitely should have snapped a shot), I saw the most curious and amusing sight I’ve seen in quite a while. As I pulled into the gravel drive, a stray cat was trotting along in front of me. Just in time with the staccato classical music notes that were streaming over my airwaves, a bird flew in from stage right and dipped towards the cat and up toward the left, then dipped back over the cat, flapping his wings as if defending a most precious territory. He took a few dips with the cat trotting along in front of me faster, and faster, until finally the cat made a run for the nearest underside of a truck and the bird flew off. Entertainment, naturally! The timing was uncanny. I do find pleasure in the simples of sights and things.
With my bucket in hand, I set off in search of the blueberry bushes. I was informed by a cheerful woman inside the farm store to go “just down that dirt road, between the house on the right and barn on the left”. I ambled down and spotted the rows. At first glance, I didn’t see the plethora of ripened bulbous blueberries that I was expecting. I walked down to the fields nearest the back rows, thinking I might go where not many pickers had gone before. I began to pick – a berry there, a berry here.
Later I realized that the bushes in the back were actually a bit late-blooming. I had never seen a blueberry bush in bloom – so ardently lovely! And the scent is one of – you guessed it- blueberries (although perhaps I was biased). The bees were awake, aware and busy pollinators. I listened to their diligent buzz as I plucked, with the occasional one flying very near to my hand and face. Respect for all involved, I thought, and stepped aside when I feared I had out-picked my welcome.
At one, I stooped down to peer inside the bush at which I was picking – and, lo and behold, saw a dappled network of ripened berries hanging from hidden branches. Aha – I had figured out the secret strategy – no wonder I saw birds fly in and out of bushes. I wouldn’t call myself a naturalist, per se; I can’t rattle off the species of trees that I see when I walk through the woods (though this is on my list), but I do feel the draw to the natural world and often let my mind wander freely as I’m immersed in the outdoors.
As I picked, a thought came to me – this picking of berries is a metaphor for life’s journey. The ripest bounties won’t always be presented to us and easy to see (though sometimes this is the case). More often, the sweetest joys in life result from getting down, near to the ground, and going into the bush and searching, reaching, and choosing, again and again. I had found a strategy that paralleled with making meaning of living. Awesome. I then realized that there are two different ways to go about using this strategy. Some pickers may prefer picking one bush and staying close to that bush, putting in the time to pick as many berries as crop up in eyesight – there are always more than we think are there, I realized. Others may choose to spend a few minutes at a bush, then leave and go on to the next bush – the wanderers and gypsies. I found myself doing a bit of both. Sometimes when the going gets good, we have those unforeseen moments or situations that leap up and challenge our faith in life – these can stink (quite literally, I stepped ankle deep in manure when I had finally covered the bottom of my bucket). But I have to believe that if we keep picking, even with the stink still in our nose, wonderful things crop up once again. When I moved to the next bush, I noticed a lovely trumpet vine, growing devil-may-care.
This naturalistic theory, I feel, realistically mimics my life. Thus far, I have made naiive choices in youth, not really seeing the opportunities that lay before me. I made poor choices, fell back into the ground – learned and grew, then followed my life’s passions (plucked, you could say) to new corners of the world (from Florida to the New England, though I have lived in several places). I like the nesting comforts of home, though I don’t feel settled quite yet. I long for new and challenging experiences in my career of choice – teaching (and writing, my secret life). I see the value in sticking to a particular bush, and wandering when the time is right.
Perhaps this seeing meaning in picking blueberries on a Friday morning is just me? 🙂 Maybe – maybe not. As I left the fields, with enough to fill a cobbler (recipes and pics coming Sunday!), I looked back and realized that the bushes looked fuller than when I first came. I had plenty, and had left plenty for pickers who would follow me. Opportunities aplenty. Cheers! In Luck and Love, L